The saddest part has been the social impact generated from these decisions. Up till the mid 80's AVRoe itself took up to 500 apprentices a year into their fold, taking the young men in north manchester straight from the school gates into the working environment turning them into responsible young men, What do 16 year olds get now? I suggest very little leading into an increase in social degredation and poor direction for life.
The reason AVRoe and many other engineering companies (Ferranti, Renolds, Holroyds, Farrel, Whip and Bourne, Smiths Engineering...the list is literally endless) do not take apprenticeships on (and do not exist) is that central government paid apprentice wages from 16 to 19 years old allowing companies to have training schools to train their future workers. The added benefit is that young men had direction. I know because I went through the system in 1982. Callagan started this in 1975, Thatcher followed gradually reducing the percentage paid, turning this type of operation financially impossible, with the Blair government finally removing this subsidy. Like I said they are all equally to blame.
If you understand who and where are the most powerful countries they are based on a strong manufacturing base; Japan, Germany and the US are included. They all still have subsidised apprenticeships, although the US has recently dramatically changed in the last 10 years. If you look to Germany and Japan who still focus on this methodology you see a strong base of young people who are models of the community. Don't get me wrong, the majority of Manchesters young people are sincere and well behaved, its the ones that get left behind that worry me. How do we help these directionless and disappointed young people?
I don't want young men to have only the chance to work selling sofas and beds on a retail park - where do you go from there? So why do it, its a question I would ask myself if I was in their shoes. It I feel, is too late and without central government help and direction I see no route out of this situation.
I know you think i'm spouting but sometimes things need to be said. I would rather have 25 apprentices at BAe a year than any number of carpet warehouses...BAe did support a huge number of supplimentary jobs in North manchester and further a field, from steel from Sheffield to corner shop bacon muffins. I think I am qualified to discuss this as I have had to leave Manchester (I still have a home here) just to continue Britains great tradition within engineering - there are very limited very low paid positions in Manchester these days. Its such a shame. I am chief designer at Ferrari road vehicle engines in Italy and sit on several steering boards within the industries institutions, and hope I can still impact some form of positive change, one day.