King Charles laments lack of vocational education and ‘abandoned’ apprenticeships

The King says apprenticeships are 'vital' in one-off-episode of The Repair Shop

The King says apprenticeships are 'vital' in one-off-episode of The Repair Shop

King Charles has praised the value of apprenticeships but warned they are often “abandoned” and criticised a lack of vocational education across the country.

The comments were made before he became King in a one-off-episode of The Repair Shop, which will be broadcast by the BBC tonight at 8pm.

The then-Prince criticised the lack of vocational education, labelling it a “great tragedy”.

In the episode, he praises the value of technical skills and apprenticeships and says he has the greatest admiration for people who have technical skills.

Students from the Prince’s Foundation building craft programme, which teaches traditional skills including blacksmithing, thatching, stonemasonry, and wood carving, are filmed meeting Charles and showing the work they do. 

King Charles says: “I can see the difference we can make to people who have technical skills, which we need all the time. It gives people intense reward and satisfaction.

“I still think the great tragedy is the lack of vocational education in schools. Actually, not everybody is designed for the academic.

“I know through the Prince’s Trust. I see the difference we can make to people who have technical skills which we need all the time. I have the greatest admiration for people.

“That’s been a problem I think sometimes that’s forgotten. Apprenticeships are vital but I promise you people… they just abandoned apprenticeships for some reason.”

The rest of the episode shows the presenter, Jay Blades, and his repair team mending an 18th-century bracket clock and a piece of Wemyss Ware pottery made for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee which the King recalls was damaged whilst someone was opening a window.

The then-Prince says: “Quite a lot of the people we’ve trained on these courses come back as tutors, so you get a wonderful circle. Some of them will be coming back for years, filling the skills gaps.”

One repair team member says: “Learning on the job and making the mistakes myself; that has taught me more than I could ever learnt out of a book”.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said tweeted that it was “great to have HRH King Charles advocating for skills, vocational, and technical education”.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We recognise that an academic route is not for everyone. Young people now have a range of high quality technical and vocational training options to choose from including apprenticeships and new T Level qualifications in a range of exciting subjects, helping them gain the skills they need to forge a great career.”

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