(13th September 2005)
As exam results are posted for another year, large numbers of young people are turning their back on the classroom in favour of pursuing vocational career paths. Inspired by some of the country’s top business entrepreneurs and encouraged by the opportunity to earn whilst they learn, they will join the 255,500 young people currently undertaking an Apprenticeship in England alone.
The third City and Guilds Vocational Rich List released earlier this year, which ranks the wealth of those who built their fortunes on vocational qualifications, highlights examples of some exceptional individuals who have gained practical skills at a young age, which they have used to their advantage.
According to this annual index, the collective wealth of the nation's top 25 vocational millionaires has risen by nearly £2.4 billion in the past two years - to a whopping £5.1 billion in 2005. Top of the league are celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay along with fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Karen Millen. Taking the top spot, for the third year running is John Caudwell, the Staffordshire-based Phones4U telecoms magnate, with an estimated fortune of £1.28 billion.
These exceptional entrepreneurs offer real inspiration to school-leavers demonstrating how vocational training has been their foundation for extraordinary financial success.
David Tofts, director of youth and further education at LSC Hertfordshire, said “Apprenticeships offer school leavers the opportunity to develop skills that are valued and in demand in the workplace. Research shows that UK employers rank Apprenticeships top of their wish list for staff, above a university degree. For employers they make good business sense - not only can Apprentices offer the solution to recruitment and skills shortages, they demonstrate high levels of loyalty and commitment to their employers.”