Saturday 18 February 2012

Apprenticeships - or a delusion?

"Apprenticeships" apparently deserve a "week" which was held from 6th to 12th February. Liberal Democrat News celebrated it on 10th February with a front page article in which Vince Cable proudly announced that the government "has prioritised investment in apprenticeships (which) has led to the creation of a record number of apprenticeships combined with tough new standards to drive up quality...(which will)...deliver the world class skills individuals and firms need to get ahead." In the same issue, on the back page , it reported Redcar MP Ian Swales's pride that his constituency has seen "a 91% increase in apprenticeships in the last 18 months."

However, in the Guardian on the same day Polly Toynbee, a founder member of the SDP and thus at one time one of the Liberal Democrats' highest profile supporters, wrote that the government's claims are "almost a lie, at least nowhere near the truth". In fact, she claims, the number of apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds has actually fallen in the last three months, that so many of the so called apprenticeships are 12 week courses from private training companies, with no jobs at the end, and bizarrely, that the figures include an 878% increase in "apprenticeships " for the over 60s!

Who are we to believe?

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