February 09, 2004
The government is bringing back apprenticeships

I know it's a government initiative, but this has got to be a step in the right direction, for the British economy, and for education:

Thousands of children from the age of 14 are to be offered apprenticeships, allowing them to leave the classroom and learn a trade.

Ministers are to announce a new "junior apprenticeship" scheme next month under which 14 to 16-year-olds can spend two days a week at work, one day at college and two days in school. They will learn on the job from skilled workers such as plumbers, joiners, electricians and IT operators.

A briefing note by the Department for Education and Skills says that thousands of 14 and 15-year-olds will be given the opportunity to go out to work as part of the scheme.

The scheme is seen as part of an attempt to plug the skills gap in the United Kingdom that has left industry short of skilled workers. Employers say that one in ten employees are "incompetent". Ministers believe the scheme will also help combat truancy.

For once I agree with those "Ministers". Anything which widens the available options for bored teenagers yearning to be free has to be a good thing.

Which doesn't mean the government won't find a way to balls it up. But despite that obvious prejudice, I'm still glad that our rulers are thinking along these lines. After all, the lives of the kids who give this a try are already totally nationalised, so it's hard to see how this could make things any worse. I know, I know, they'll find a way. But I still say: good luck and I hope it works.

Some teachers, naturally, are worried.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 05:41 PM
Category: CompulsionRelevance