Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Apprenticeships

There's a lot of talk about apprenticeships out there. They're the sort of thing that sound like a great idea. You know, the sort of thing where a young lad or lass come in, maybe not brilliant at school, but keen, hard-working, practical. Join a company and get a trade.

So, I thought I'd take a look at some of the apprenticeships out there by typing in a postcode in Northamptonshire into the Apprenticeships website and seeing what came up.

So, here's the first 2 pages I got:-

Apprentice Nursery Assistant required to work in an Ofsted grade 1 (outstanding) day nursery in Hunsbury, Northampton. 
Main Duties: 
• Caring for children. Ensuring that children are safe and relating well to each other. 
• Being creative and helping to plan activities for the children. 
• Enabling play and participating in play. 

No, that's a job. You hire someone who is good with kids, spend a little time sorting out activities.

Apprentice Teaching Assistant

That's a government job.

Apprentice Mechanical Engineer (Fork Lift Truck Maintenance)

That's an apprenticeship - lots of training needed. Good.

Apprentice Barber

That's "trainee hairdresser", something we've always had jobs in. The job even prefers standard hairdressing qualifications.

Apprentice Nursery Assistant

No, job.

Apprentice Office Administrator

With duties like "Organising and Management of various production paperwork forms for the running of day to day business" that's just an office junior job. Nothing in the job suggesting something more skilled other than that.

Apprentice Machinist Engineer

Some machining, learning some welding. That's an apprenticeship. Good.

Childminding Apprenticeship

Again. Job.

Apprentice Pizza Chef

At Pizza Hut. You're going to be putting toppings on some shipped-in pizza dough. Something a child can do in 30 minutes.

Business Administration Apprentice

"Generally assisting the MD" "filing scanning and photocopying". That's another "office junior".

It's really dispiriting. These are nearly all low-paid jobs, and jobs that require little training investment, which was always the problem - employers wouldn't train people because they could leave and go elsewhere. And a grant of £1500 isn't going to incentivise more advanced apprenticeships. It's just another jobs scheme where you get some money and the government picks up some low-grade training.

15 comments:

Shiney said...

Apprenticeships are a waste of time.They are a way of colleges being able to cream off subsidy/grants from the govt and employers.

I've just withdrawn my sysadmin from the local FE college (wannabe Uni) since the IT apprenticeship was a waste of his time and my money.

The Stigler said...

Shiney,

It's a mixed bag, that sort of thing. My college course had brilliant lecturers, experienced software developers and high standards.

Have you looked at things like Pluralsight?

Roger said...

Just suppose Mark W was CEO of BigCorp Global and was looking to site a 5000 person R&D facility somewhere in Europe. Where would you look and what questions would you ask the Regional Development whatever? So, no aggravation over planning, somewhere bright people would want to live and could find housing, a nice environment for their kids, good schooling etc etc etc. Oh, and a motorway link into the site and access to an good airport. Can you lay that on Councillor Ormroyd? - I thought not - next.

BTW - there are no Regional Development whatevers in the UK, just phone the town hall and good luck with that.

Physiocrat said...

Pizza making is a skilled job. They can be horrible if not done right. The best pizzas I have come across are made by the 14 year old son of the owner of shop. They don't have pizza chains in Sweden.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, good research and yes, it is very dispiriting.

The Stigler said...

Physiocrat,

"Pizza making is a skilled job."

But it's not at the level of skills that require huge investment in training. And from what I can tell, Pizza Hut just get the bases shipped in and stick the toppings on top. And they're not particularly good.

The old problem with apprenticeships was that big companies did them, then small companies offered more wages and poached people. It's why traditionally, apprenticeships existed either in guilds where people wouldn't poach, or where you had tenure - so you did your apprenticeship but had to work there for a number of years afterwards. But we don't consider that to be legally acceptable, so of course, companies have more at risk.

You really have to socialise training costs. It wouldn't cost as much as how much we spend writing off university courses.

Ralph Musgrave said...

I know someone who employed only interns. How's that for cheap labour?

Random said...

"It's really dispiriting. These are nearly all low-paid jobs, and jobs that require little training investment, which was always the problem - employers wouldn't train people because they could leave and go elsewhere. And a grant of £1500 isn't going to incentivise more advanced apprenticeships. It's just another jobs scheme where you get some money and the government picks up some low-grade training."
Stop subsidies (incl tax credits) and have the govt offer jobs at £8/hour to anyone who shows up.

The Stigler said...

Random,

"Stop subsidies (incl tax credits) and have the govt offer jobs at £8/hour to anyone who shows up."

That's just pointless workfare. One bloke digs out a ditch, another fills it in. I'd rather people just stayed home and watched Jeremy Kyle.

A lot of YPP policies will help unemployment, like CI. But the best thing you can do with people is to get them marketable skills. When I rub shoulders with people from India writing software, it's not because people want Indians - it's because there aren't the people in the UK.

You could make a revenue neutral change that would help this country - cut the number of university places to around 10-15% of the population instead of 35-50%. Spend the money left on training at a C&G/BTEC level, either as post-GCSE, post-A-level or as certificate courses linked to apprenticeships. Provide incentives for training, starting with removing disincentives like VAT on training courses and materials.

Random said...

"That's just pointless workfare. One bloke digs out a ditch, another fills it in. I'd rather people just stayed home and watched Jeremy Kyle."
I hate Jeremy Kyle :(
I support citizens income as a vehicle for land redistribution. You can get the same effect by exempting the first £x of land from LVT though, and seeing as this is people "keeping their own money" it would be supported more. And if you want to live off citizens income, fine with me. But let's give people the option to work if they choose (and not make it coercive like workfare.)
There is plenty of work to do. Either you are in favour of employed buffer stocks or unemployed buffer stocks to control inflation. And if you are in favour of unemployed buffer stocks you support all the crime and other problems. The employed buffer stock means people retain skills and punctuality, reducing costs of unemployment. There will always be people being unemployed, and most of them want to work, despite what is said in the media. Why not give them what they want and let them have a job like everyone else? It's not just digging up holes and filling them up again. JG schemes have been implemented successfully in many countries such as India and South Africa.
The JG is a transion job - it helps with people's transferrable skills. Old/out of date work needs to be purged somehow. It also introduces competition in the labour market so shite jobs are eliminated and employers will offer training and automate. Businesses need to be treated like cattle, not pets.
I think CI and JG are a good match as the CI prevents the JG from being turned into workfare or overly coercive, and JG introduces competition in the labour market which CI/tax credit schemes can subsidise employers.

The Stigler said...

Random,

"There is plenty of work to do. Either you are in favour of employed buffer stocks or unemployed buffer stocks to control inflation. And if you are in favour of unemployed buffer stocks you support all the crime and other problems."

Most of the criminal unemployment is because of the screwed-up incentives. For a lot of people, they're better off being unemployed and selling a little black market dope than being in a job.

"The employed buffer stock means people retain skills and punctuality, reducing costs of unemployment. There will always be people being unemployed, and most of them want to work, despite what is said in the media."

But those criminal unemployed don't have skills.

"Why not give them what they want and let them have a job like everyone else? It's not just digging up holes and filling them up again. JG schemes have been implemented successfully in many countries such as India and South Africa."

And at what other costs? How much do those schemes cost? How many jobs are not created because you've taken money off people and channeled it into your scheme?

"The JG is a transion job - it helps with people's transferrable skills. Old/out of date work needs to be purged somehow. It also introduces competition in the labour market so shite jobs are eliminated and employers will offer training and automate. Businesses need to be treated like cattle, not pets."

No, businesses need to be treated like pets. You start turning screws on businesses and they will send their software, machinery and instruction manuals to China or Taiwan and work there instead. The only businesses you can treat like cattle are those that can't leave, those that depend on being in this country, like cafes outside Windsor Castle. And the way you deal with those is via LVT.

Random said...

"Most of the criminal unemployment is because of the screwed-up incentives. For a lot of people, they're better off being unemployed and selling a little black market dope than being in a job."
Unemployed is caused by lack of jobs, whatever you think.
So make the incentives better then! If they have a job they don't need to do crime and can't. We can get criminals to do work for nothing. Most unemployed people are not criminals and would jump at a job at a living wage.In terms of black markets, this is where legalising/regulating drugs would be helpful to solve this "crime."
"No, businesses need to be treated like pets. You start turning screws on businesses and they will send their software, machinery and instruction manuals to China or Taiwan and work there instead."
Then let them. Why are you proposing a luddite manifesto?
"And at what other costs? How much do those schemes cost? How many jobs are not created because you've taken money off people and channeled it into your scheme?"
A government employee will sit at a computer and credit a bank account.
The cost of anything is the real resources used. We are going to take a bunch of people currently doing and give them useful work to do. What will happen is business will price expand.

Random said...

TS, how many private sector jobs e.g. derivatives traders are "digging holes and filling them back up again"?

The Stigler said...

Random,

and yet, company owners, out of their pockets, willingly pay for derivatives.

How about you go and find out why that is and come back with a better example.

Random said...

"and yet, company owners, out of their pockets, willingly pay for derivatives."
The point I am making is just because someone pays for something out of their pocket it does not necessarily add value. You reply - somebody pays something out of their pocket and imply this is self evident!
For private profit. Derivatives especially CDOs were a major cause of the 2008 crisis including banks betting against their customers. Yes, derivatives can be used for hedging but a large proportion are speculation.
What I am trying to say Bayard - is that there is differing values and it is all to do with real resources - people are not necessarily worth what they are paid!
Derivatives were a major cause of the 2008 crisis. Banks bought their own toxic deritives to convince others to buy them.