My friend Cogito Ergosum writes
"Thankfully, we are now on the short strokes of the intellectual raping that goes with the lead into a General Erection. We are bombarded with allegation versus allegation, comments upon comments and the ravings of the self-important seeking employment somewhere within easy reach of the trough labelled Westminster. But the latest SillyMillieism (http://bit.ly/1CEznAM) has to be up there amongst the better examples of panicking"
Having been an apprentice, I can really appreciate what he is suggesting and I cannot see it going any further than the LibDem's pledge on tuition fees the last time the Magic Wheel was spun. I have grasped the figure of 80,000 but cannot be arsed to see if that is annual or over the 5 years he is hoping for. At the 5 year rate, it equates to 16,000 year on year.
No mention seems to be made as to who these might offer these opportunities. An apprentice cannot contribute anything to the bottom line until they have undergone the full gamut of training. They will take up the time of qualified employees required to teach and monitor their efforts; are there enough regular workers capable and willing to impart their knowledge? Nothing is learned by 'sitting alongside Nelly' so extra office equipment or workshop machinery would be required. Together with a work space where our old friend Health & Safety comes into play.
That covers finding a vacancy - who will deal with costs of compliance? Some forms of apprenticeship may well require day release for concentrated tuition. Some form of examination as the years pass so there are many additional costs. We have seen what a hash the education system makes of implementing a long established curriculum. That connects to the base entry standard of 2 'A' levels where the culture of appeals and re-sits is already well settled.
What would be the pay for an apprentice? Back in 1952 I received the weekly sum of 30/6d (£1.52'ish for new readers) Doing the calculation to get today's equivalent gives us £41 a week so that explains another problem.
Maybe Ed should stick to bacon sandwiches?