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Apprenticeships - good or bad?


chub_tor
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David Cameron has pledged to make it the "new norm" for school leavers to take an apprenticeship or go to university. says Sky News

So I was wondering if this is a harking back to the "good old days" that I enjoyed back in 1957 when I left High School with two A Levels and a choice of apprenticeship or university - or is it a political expediency to boost the numbers of those counted as employed?

Apprenticeships as I knew them were for 5 years and mine taught me all the basic skills that I would need to become skilled in my chosen career. I spent 6 months in a training centre learning how to use drills, mills, centre and capstan lathes, how to cut, shape, bend and weld sheet metal as well as how to solder (with a gas heated soldering iron) components and wiring looms - all this before I was let loose for four and a half years in the various factory departments working alongside skilled piece-workers. And that was just during the day, for nights were spent at the local technical college as I slogged my way through ONC and HNC before I was given my signed indentures.

The skills I got were hard earned at £7.50per week out of which I had to pay for my digs as I was living away from home, but those skills are with me today and I regret not one jot passing up University to take up an apprenticeship but I wonder if the new modern apprenticeships will have the rigour of those some 50 years ago and does the youth of today have the stomach for 5 years working for next to nothing in the hope of a better career in the future? We knew that at the end of our training unless we did something really stupid there was a a job for us at the end of it, but can employers offer that kind of security today?

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john bunyan

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"That was wrong-headed because our economy could not survive without skilled artisans and craftsmen"

It was also wrong as many went to Uni to take subjects that were less academically rigorous than historic degrees, and with little prospect of employment in that field (such as "Media Studies"). The cost of this increase in numbers has led to the current increase to up to £9000 p.a. for tuition fees for those about to go to Uni.

Apprenticeships would have been a far better investment, and the quality and kudos of a degree would have been preserved.

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fourm member

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chub_tor

Sorry. I didn't think you were associating the party of the people with snobbery.

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morddwyd

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Certainly in my day, and in my environment, the universal aspiration was either university or apprenticeship, and one didn't preclude the other, not everyone to uni which seems to be the current ambition (I'm talking about males).

An apprentice was always seen as an eminently suitable putative match by the parents of the day, and even now my contemporaries will say "I'm a time served brickie" with as much pride as I do about engineering.

The dumbing down of universities to include polytechnics did irreparable damage to this country's skill base.

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chub_tor

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the party of the people unfortunately became New Labour with its two leaders one of whom was educated in Chorister School in Durham, thenFettes College followed by St. John's College Oxford and then became a member of Linoln's Inn. The other was a "Son of the Kirkcaldy Manse", then went to Kirkcaldy High School and graduated from the University of Edinburgh - closer to the people perhaps but no cigar (as my American friends would say).

But counterbalancing that I notice that "the party of the people" blame the failure of apprenticeships on the Conservative Party who "legislated to prevent councils from including minimum apprenticeship training requirements in their tenders for, for example, construction and highways’ schemes. The mantra was ‘The market will provide’. It didn’t." according to Labour MP Clive Betts

I tried and failed to find any MP living or dead who had completed an apprenticeship but I am sure that there are some of them out there... maybe some forum members could point them out to me.

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Pine Man

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I watched a young person being interviewed on TV about apprenticeships. She complained that the job she was doing was boring and repetitive so she packed it in!

Welcome to the real world.

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