I read recent articles and Tony Buton’s letter. I was present at a recent charity event run by the trade and I spoke to a lot of employers and the topic of apprentices came up, the common thread was they were more work and hassle than they were worth. The funding all goes to the colleges and as they are paid for bums on seats and not basic skills of presentation, clear spoken English and the ability to leave the mobile down for a period greater than five minutes, they will fill those seats with anyone. Employers are then offered to pick from this pool? Whatever happened to the employer interviewing the apprentice and purchasing the training from the college and the money paid to the employer? This system worked and if the apprentice was not capable they got fired and the taxpayer support stopped. Now when they don’t make the grade the colleges keep them on the seats claiming the cash knowing that they will never make the grade. We had a scheme from government to up skill employees and the money went to the colleges, I and some of my employees went on these courses and found off duty firemen, policemen, the proverbial butcher, baker and candle stick maker on these courses for the trade taking the funding for the industry as the college priority was bums on seats, these are the next cash in hand, fly by night characters we will find ourselves following round after to sort the mess.
The success of a nation is judged by its prosperity and care of its vulnerable. The government has allowed certain sectors to commit offences and go unpunished while depriving others and now it wants heating engineers and plumbers to go about and do the jobs of the social and welfare departments. I worked as a trust engineer over 15 years ago and, having seen the inside of the health and social system, those at the coal faced toiled like heroes but there was a layer of middle management that consumed vast resources and built empires, played political games with tax payers’ funds. This whole system has become so distorted and needs a grass root sort out by some who have the most important qualification of all – common sense – a qualification that is becoming so hard to find in the current employment market and is one that cannot be taught.