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Michel Roux Jr: Children should not be forced into further education

Published 18/04/2016

Michel Roux Jr left school at 16 to begin an apprenticeship as a chef
Michel Roux Jr left school at 16 to begin an apprenticeship as a chef

Michel Roux Jr has called for less-academic students to be "split up" from peers and pushed towards apprenticeships from as young as 12.

Roux Jr, who left school at 16 to begin an apprenticeship as a chef, said that carpenters, plumbers and craftsmen were always needed as he urged a revamp of the curriculum.

He told the Press Association: "I believe kids at 12 or 13 already know where they want to go and some kids are just not academics, like me.

"I think we should try to find out at that young age what kids are good at and split them up, not force them into further education, not force them into somewhere they ultimately won't be interested and not do well.

"We end up with thousands and thousands of young boys and girls going to uni, going into further education with massive debts of £20-30,000 that they may or may not pay and a degree in, say, economic history.

"Maybe you become a politician or journalist. But how many jobs are there? Very few. For me, it's just wrong, the whole system is wrong."

Roux Jr also called on schools to teach cookery as part of the curriculum.

He said that "knowledge and respect and values... have been lost over the last few generations" as family units fail to pass on traditional cooking skills.

"Just basic skills: Teach them five, six recipes and basic hygienic skills and where food comes from," he recommended for schools.

Talking about Jamie Oliver's sugar tax, he slammed schools for selling sugary drinks and sweets to pupils.

"Let's stop feeding our children sugar. They shouldn't be selling it to you at school, that's wrong too."

He said of the tax: "I'm not convinced that's the way forward but something has to be done to get the message out there (about the dangers of sugar)."

Roux Jr's film series The Craftsmen's Dinner with The Balvenie whisky can be found at

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "We want young people leaving school today to be able to choose the next step that is right for them.

"That's why we have reformed apprenticeships and further education so there is more choice than ever before.

"We are committed to three million high quality apprenticeships by 2020 so that young people have the skills they need to get on and business has the talent it needs to grow."

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