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Prince Andrew visit: You don't need to go to university to be successful

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University is not the only way to succeed in life and apprenticeships need to be promoted more in schools, the Duke of York said.

Prince Andrew told the Express & Star that university was often recommended to school leavers over apprenticeships because the school system was 'designed' to keep young people in the classroom.

He also said teachers largely only had experience going through university, so were less likely to suggest alternative routes into employment other than university.

He admitted that apprenticeships suffered from a reputational issue - often thought as a route for school failures.

"That is the problem," he said.

"The school system to some extent is set up in order to keep people in school so there is a discouragement from people leaving school slightly earlier and moving in on life with self employment or employment in a career.

The Duke of York visiting Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick

"The other thing is, kids have to make a decision at a much earlier age about what they are going to do.

"And this is no disrespect to the teaching profession but they have largely become a university-based group of people - so to be a teacher you have to go to university.

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"Their experience leads them to advise that same experience and against others that appear not quite right - well that is not the case.

"It is horses for courses - not everybody has the inclination or the ability to go to university when they leave school."

But the Duke made clear that doing an apprenticeship would not prevent anyone from going on to university later in life to advance their careers.

He believes that apprenticeships have the potential to give youngsters a foot up onto the career ladder and teach them valuable skills, which in turn is beneficial to the country.

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And he thinks it could be that going to university later in life, after an apprenticeship, could become a better model in the future for the majority of people.

"By choosing to do an apprenticeship it never closes the door to university," he said.

"University is something you can do at any stage of life or your career path.

Speaking to guests in the boardroom

"So by choosing to have a skill, and to learn a skill, and then apply that skill by advancing your knowledge by going to university may be the right way to do it for more people rather than less."

High Royal Highness is patron of the Ladder for the Black Country campaign which is urging businesses to take on apprentices and for young people to grab the opportunity of a paid work-based training scheme to learn a skill and get on career path.

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