Blog 2 minute readUniversity for me was OK, I had a nice time. Did I learn much? Not really. I learnt a bit and as it was essentially free, it seemed a sensible thing to do. However, the onset of tuition fees has changed the game. Unless young people want to become engineers, doctors or dentists (and the like) I have long since thought that it is pretty arguable whether the £60K of debt that you are likely to graduate with is actually worth the qualification. I suspect for lots of courses, at many universities, it is not. This brings us to the alternatives, one of which is apprenticeship schemes. And, it seems to me, that a decent apprenticeship scheme in PR would equip intelligent, hungry young people to work in PR just as well as a degree. With all this in mind, today’s news that the PRCA and Pearson in Practice today are leading a partnership to develop and deliver an apprenticeship programme for the public relations industry is a massive step forward. This new apprenticeship programme will offer an alternative route into an industry currently dominated by graduates. The programme combines on-the-job training, qualifications and development with real-life work experience. Apprentices will work towards nationally recognised qualifications, equivalent to a foundation degree. The Apprenticeship Programme will target young people with enthusiasm for a PR career but who have chosen not to pursue a degree, thereby attracting hundreds of new, young and talented people to the industry. There is wide support for the scheme within the sector as it is looking to recruit from increasingly diverse backgrounds. Following a successful application to the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), worth £1.2m over 2 years, the PRCA and Pearson in Practice will spend the next 12 months working with PR employers and experienced practitioners to develop a programme that will meet employer and employee needs. It is envisaged that the first Apprenticeships will begin in September 2012.