A National Education Service will give working age people access throughout their lives to learn new skills or to re-train. It should also work with Jobcentre Plus to offer claimants opportunities to improve their skills, rather than face the carousel of workfare placements, sanctions and despair. We need a return to ambitious joined-up government.

While slashing college funding, George Osborne boasts of increasing apprenticeships. Yet too many are low quality, failing to give young people the transferable skills they need to get on.

It is clear that some employers are using apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of circumventing minimum wage legislation. This has to end. The minimum wage must be equalised across the board – with no poverty rates like the current £2.73 per hour apprenticeship rate.

Under a National Education Service, colleges should work in partnership with employers to mutually accredit apprenticeships and courses that offer high quality transferable skills. Councils and government agencies should also use public procurement contracts to guarantee good apprenticeships.

Jeremy Corbyn.

“We’re going to have more good apprenticeships by making it three times more expensive for an employer to provide an apprenticeship”.


29 thoughts on “Facepalm”

  1. The National Education Service?

    Will that be the envy of the world too?

    (and Steve 3:12pm – +1 !)

  2. The way I see it, we either a low minimum wage and high taxes to pay for social security top ups or higher wages with higher costs of goods and services with low taxes as we would not have to have social security top ups.

    I have never really been able to decide between the two.

  3. Well duh, of course higher prices for apprentice labour will go hand in hand with increased demand for apprentices because increased prices show that there is increased demand. Since this is bog standard supply and demand theory, what bit of it don’t you get? To think otherwise is sophistry, quite possibly of the neoliberal kind.

  4. It will triple the wage cost, but wait until colleges work on accrediting apprenticeships; that will far more than triple the overall cost.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    When I joined the Army as an apprentice in 1972 I was paid £1.70 per day. Looking up the CPI inflation* the equivalent is £16.85 per day, £2.40 per hour for a 7.5 hours day and £2.11 per hour for an 8 hour day.

    So they are still better off than we were, which is a good thing but to be 3x better off?

    *Assuming of course I’ve looked up the correct one!

  6. The bleeding hearts just don’t get that an ‘entry level’ wage is essential to get young people into the job market.

  7. “We need a return to ambitious joined-up government.”

    A *return* to it? When did it ever exist?
    Ambitious, certainly, but actually “joined-up”?

  8. Living Wage ‘could harm home care sector’

    “The National Living Wage could result in a “catastrophic failure” in the home care market, the industry is warning.”

    And of course the answer to this problem?

    “The UKHCA believes the introduction of the National Living Wage will require councils to pay a minimum price of £16.70 an hour for services. “

  9. “will give working age people access throughout their lives to learn new skills”
    Working from Cradle to Grave

  10. I’m not sure that this is what Jeremy Corbyn is saying. His argument, as I understand it, is that apprenticeships are currently undervalued (I’d agree), that a key reason for their unpopularity is the low rate of pay currently on offer (I’d agree), and that this problem could be (partially) solved by state subsidy.

    This seems to me to be quite sensible. As far as I’m concerned, this would be a better use of state resources than the absurd amounts currently poured into university education.

  11. Nothing would do the universities more good than subsidising those who are not up to a university education to piss off and do something else.

    Then we could close all the faux-universities. And then the faux-subjects. No doubt the Swiss model would be worth considering.

  12. Fucking hell Churm. Can you advise us as to how many apprentice chippies the country needs, then? I think we should be told.

    If you value apprenticeships higher than the current employers, set yourself up in business and pay what you think is appropriate for your apprentices.

  13. In the not too distant past apprentices had to pay to be trained, a bit like university fees except when they finished they had real marketable skills?

  14. Courtesy Airbnb I met a French family whose daughter had left school at 16 to become a patissier apprentice. She anticipated having mastered the art by age 25. Compare and contrast with a work experience yoof learning his skills at Greggs.

  15. It is clear that some employers are using apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of circumventing minimum wage legislation.

    A statement pulled out from his fat socialist arse, if you intend to be the one running the country I would use better phrases than “it is clear” and perhaps some facts to back up this surreptitious claim that doesn’t come from some union backed left wing think tank.

    It may well be “clear” to Mr Corbyn, but unfortunately, based on past record, the collected wit and wisdom of geriatric Bennites that drove this country to begging for bailout cash is little more than toilet paper for the soul.

  16. My dad started his apprenticeship in the drawing office of a sheet galvanising firm in about 1955, when he was 15.

    His wages didn’t cover is bus fares and were made up by his mother.

    Apprenticeships as was were very low wage. Youngsters today would not want anything like that, I can hardly blame them.

  17. Simple really. Nominate certain industries as ‘Universities of life improvement’ – charge the apprentaces ‘suitable’ fees that will take years to pay off.
    This way – bit by bit – everybody in ythe contry is in bondage to the government.
    Marxism by another name.

  18. Have no problem with apprentices. Do have a problem with paying them less than other staff for hours worked.
    If that means we pay more than double apprentice wages then so be it. Will it result in better behaved apprentices? 🙂
    Seriously there are a few employers paying normal staff wages to apprentices. And their apprentices tend to treat it as an entry into a career.

  19. @ Martin Davies
    Apprentices need training and supervision by experienced skilled workers. That reduces the productivity of the supervisors. Who do you expect to bear the cost of that – the supervisors or the apprentices, who are benefiting from the training?
    Answers on a postage stamp, unless you are an International Socialist – the TUC will vehementally defend the rights of skilled workers to a premium wage.

  20. Bloke in North Dorset

    IIRC in the 60s and early 70s unemployment benefit was a % of salary for the first [12] months, something like 80%. There were stories when I joined the Army of people resigning for 12 months paid holiday and then returning at the same rank without loss of seniority.

    That’s definitely anecdotal and I cant find anything on Google.

  21. I notice how the mighty Corbyn also wants to pay for his largesse with an increase in corporation tax – displaying no awareness whatsoever of the incidence of said tax

  22. A National Education service will require lots of civil servants to run it, and opportunities for politicians to preen and pretend to control it. Jobs for the boys!
    It occurs that if we re-categorise education as a form of apprenticeship we could give students a decent wage- instead of putting them into debt. I’m sure the fat universities and the bloated school system can afford this.

  23. I think Rincewind’s right: Corbyn talks about funding the wage increase through tax, which must mean (though he really could have been clearer) that it will be the state topping up the wage, not the employer. On the other hand, Geoffers is right: he wants to fund it through increased corporation tax, so it is the employer after all — except it’s all employers, including the ones with no apprentices. The man’s clueless.

    Corporation tax aside, I’m not convinced it’s an insane idea. We don’t make kids pay for their further education, and we heavily subsidise their higher education. I would be surprised if topping up the wages of apprentices weren’t cheaper than getting the same kids through A-levels.

    I wonder if Corbyn has twigged, though, that he needs as many kids as possible to go to university so that they can be taught to vote for numpties like him? Apprentices will be trained by people who will moan about the huge cut taken out of their pay packets.

  24. Following on from Pat’s comment… surely, if you are going to subsidise apprenticeships, it would make more sense to pay the trainer than the trainee. I think we’d see a sudden massive increase in the number of apprenticeship schemes available.

  25. Squander Two

    Spot on – the Greens in particular like to point to ‘evidence’ that ‘voting Green’ is the mark of being educated – as their voters tend to have higher qualification levels than UKIP/ Labour – when I pointed out that there could be no greater evidence of the total degeneration of the higher education sector in the UK, I was criticised but you are absolutely right.

    Corbyn would be completely dependent on the legions graduates from the fields of womens studies, gender studies, critical race theorists and other intellectually worthless disciplines for his core support base. If he thinks the ‘working class’ has any interest in the political correctness which he, alongside other luminaries from that era like Ken Livingstone have done so much to promote, he is in for a shock….

  26. I have a site labourer who I wanted to send to college on an apprentice course in groundworks. He’s currently paid £8.50 an hour – The CITB told me that the apprentice rate for his age was 10.25 an hour rising to £11.15 in year 2. I’d have to pay him more than his gaffer to spend 5 months of the year at college, when I pointed out that this was a disincentive and asked how other firms dealt with this I was told that many companies use the grant to bump up the wages whilst they are at college only to reduce them again when they’re qualified. Note that the grant is money we reclaim from our CITB levy – in effect a repayment of our contribution. Rates of pay are set by a national pay council (dominated by unions) and have resulted in only 3 people taking this course in our area this year, I chose to train the labourer on the job.

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