Saturday, July 02, 2011

A bit of good news

Hidden amongst all the doom and gloom on the economy recently have been the stats on new apprenticeships.  Those who know me well know that I'm a strong advocate for the value of education and training post 16 which does not lead to a university degree.  Don't get me wrong - university degrees are good things generally, but so are other kinds of qualification.  It doesn't take a degree to maintain a vehicle in good running order, repair its bodywork or make sure that its engine is functioning well.  A degree doesn't help one to lay bricks in the correct way to ensure that a house built today is still standing in 50 years time.  Those and many other skills are learned through a combination of "on the job training" and training centre or college study.  Apprenticeships are the backbone of the skilled workforce we need in Britain.  An engineer or an architect can design the most beautiful, imaginative, innovative structure in the world, but it's those who've gone through an apprenticeship, learned "their trade", who will make it a reality.  In the words of the old song "You can't have one without the other".
So the news that more than 10,200 new apprenticeships have been started in the North East up to April this year following the coalition government's commitment to improving training for young people was very welcome indeed.  As is the fact that the local press has helped that in the Tees Valley by running its own publicity campaign to encourage companies to give young people a chance.
So yes, times are tough.  Yes, lots of people are losing jobs and others are finding it hard to get their first one.  But in the middle of it all is a bit of good news and we should celebrate the fact that in our region thousands of young people are getting the training they need to be able to earn a decent living and contribute to the economy of our region.

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