An ongoing project in Britain called "studio schools" might have some lessons for us. Akin to charter schools in the US, it is sponsored by the Young Foundation. It is premised on the idea that conventional education over-values cognitive skills in a world where real projects require a wide range of skills and the capacity to work in teams involving people with diverse skill sets. Studio Schools derive some of its mode from guild era training when it gives kids opportunities "to work on real projects, within real teams, in real settings."(Write to the Bone: Exploring issues in depth blog)
An important feature of studio schools is that they are not an alternative to the university track:
...a new concept in education, which seeks to address the growing gap between the skills and knowledge that young people require to succeed, and those that the current education system provides. Studio Schools pioneer a bold new approach to learning which includes teaching through enterprise projects and real work. ...Although pitched as a secondary education reform, the studio school model may contain some ideas that could be adapted to higher education in the small liberal arts college context. This six minute video is a good starting point. The website of the Studio School Trust is a good next stop.
Studio Schools are designed for 14-19 year olds of all abilities. ... small schools for 300 students; ... year-round ... and a 9-5 working day.... Working closely with local employers, ... offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications including GCSEs in English, Maths and Science, as well as paid work placements .... Students will gain a broad range of employability and life skills ... and will have the option to go on to university, further training, and into employment (studioschoolstrust.org)