Sunday, 22 September 2013

An Ed Milliband Whizzo Plan

From the Independent

Companies will be forced to train a British apprentice for every foreign worker they take on if Labour win the next election, party leader Ed Miliband has said.

Speaking in Brighton, where Labour is holding its party conference, Mr Miliband said the proposal was designed to reduce low-skill immigration and help create a “high wage economy”.

The party's plan would compel firms that hire workers from outside the EU to take on a similar number of apprentices from the UK. It claims that the policy would create up to 125,000 high quality apprenticeships over the next parliament.

“In our first year in office we will legislate for an immigration bill which has secure control of our borders, cracks down on exploitation of workers coming here undercutting workers already here, and says to big companies that bring in people from outside the EU that they can do that, within a cap, but they have got to train the next generation,” Mr Miliband said.

I'm not sure if Ed actually said it, but companies can't be forced to train a British apprentice. That would be against EU law. He could force companies to train up an apprentice from within the EU.

But how is this going to reduce low-skill immigration?

Let's imagine you're a software company and you want to bring over an experienced guy from India, especially someone with some rare skills. We're honestly going to force companies to spend money training up a software development apprentice, despite the fact that it then costs that company thousands, perhaps 10s of thousands to do so (after which the person can leave)? Reality: the work will be subcontracted out to India instead.

Or if you're a restaurant and bring over a bangladeshi chef, are we saying they have to now hire another member of staff, even though they only have jobs for one more?

If we want to have more people in jobs with good skills, the solution is as follows-

  • Replace benefits with CI, which will encourage people to take jobs.
  • Introduce LVT which will encourage more companies to set up in cheaper parts of the UK rather than offshore.
  • Convert the old polytechnics back into polytechnics, remove their ability to grant degrees, and instead run more work related courses (e.g. C&G, BTEC) that provide the skills that employers want.
  • Link part-time work and polytechnic education. So, either people can go to poly and get a course, or can get a job where 2 days a week, they go to college and learn skills that can be brought into the job.


benj said...

They are just after the headline. UKIP has got them all lurching.

Once the next election is over they'll all just forget about it. Hopefully.

Budvar said...

How about reintroduce the "Training levy", you know the one abolished by the sainted Margaret?

You employ X number of staff, and you're taxed a levy, and for every trainee you take on, you get a rebate on it.

Worked pretty well when I left school in 79, plenty of apprenticeships about then.
Those a year or 2 below me, well their training amounted to a YOP scheme (Remember those?) sweeping the floor and making the tea for a year...

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's a gloriously terrible plan. But they are trying to outdo the Lib Dems (5p tax on plastic bags etc) in terms of silliness.

Lola said...

Budvar. No. It's another tax. Employers will always train. All the training levy does is to allow another bunch of bureaucrats to earn fat salaries spending other peoples money, badly.

I am an employer and we have always offered work experience 'training' for students - and we've paid them. Right now I have a full time trainee and I would like another. But, there are no decent day release courses locally - as there were when I started out. The local FE College has become a 'university'.

Bayard said...

"They are just after the headline."

Yup, they are going to "do something" about immigration AND youth unemployment. What's not to like?
Well how about the fact that employers are unlikely to ship in unskilled labour from India when there's plenty already available from inside the EU? I can see this going down well with the racists, though: a neat bit of discrimination against brown-skinned immigrants.

Budvar said...

Except Lola, employers don't always train do they? As it's much more cost effective to poach other companies trainees, and that's what they've done for the past 30 years.

My local college had a huge heavy engineering school, with laithes and milling machines (All new gear btw) they hadn't taught a course in over 20 years.
The building was pulled down, all the machines were scrapped, and the site is now the new staff carpark.

Now before anyone jumps in with "Yebbut, all the engineering industry is now gone", Yes I'll concede it's a shadow of its former self, but quality engineering works are doing quite well still, and only the other day I was looking in an agency window, and CNC Machinists were being offered £30 an hr.

The problem now is, they haven't trained anyone (Or very few) in the last 25 years, and the skilled workforce are now coming up to retirement. Nursing is in the same boat, why spend money training up our own people when it's so much easier to import nurses from Gambia or the Philippines?

Bayard, whenever I see someone posting using the words "Racist" and "Brown skinned" I see a self loathing tosser who isn't so much part of the problem, but *THE* problem.

Bayard said...

Budvar, I'm not sure what to make of your last comment. Surely the best way to describe someone who thinks that people from other races are inferior to them is "racist", the best way to describe people whose skin is normally brown as opposed to pink is "brown-skinned" and that a policy which, deliberately or not, discriminates in favour of peoples from the EU, whose skins are, by and large, pink when unaffected by the sun and against those people whose skin is, by and large, brown even when deprived of the sun, is likely to appeal to people who dislike the ones discriminated against and don't want them in their country because they think they are somehow genetically inferior, or am I missing something?

The Stigler said...


I'm not sure that I completely agree with you about employers hiring.

In software, companies typically either hire people with a BSc in computer studies, or they find someone who is demonstrating that they have the skills. So, someone I know has just taken on someone who left school with A levels who has aced his computer studies A level and was building his own dynamic websites. He knows he's got the raw ability to do the job without spending a load of money on training to find out that he doesn't.

I worked in a company that hired trainee programmers, and a lot of money was spent on people with degrees or A levels, and in many cases, they did 6 or 7 weeks of training (at around £1K/week) only for the employer to find that they couldn't program.