Value the apprentice

I have read the ‘The right training’ correspondence on the subject of apprenticeships (Letters, 12 November). I am a five-year apprentice/HND ‘old school’ engineer, now at director level for 15 years, so I hope I’m qualified to comment.

‘We’ (the engineering base of the UK) cannot blame the weak situation on governments past, present or future. We have to find the conviction and the money to employ, keep and use apprentices as an investment to further our businesses.

Since the early 1970s I have seen a total abandonment of the apprentice as a breed. (I work in a West Midlands manufacturing company).

This is due to the short-sightedness of the people who run our industries and their greed in cutting staff to swell the bottom line for the shareholder, who more and more is in the short-term profit game.

Is that a sweeping generalisation? I hope some can tell me I’m doing them a disservice.

If so there may be hope for the budding engineer/technician to benefit from what a formal apprenticeships offers — the chance to train in theory and practice and, equally importantly, gain the confidence to work with people around them from an early age.

Does the employer who interviews today actually understand and value a time-served individual? There must now be a large number of managers who are only aware of the degree-qualified engineer.

Is there a place and value for the apprentice scheme in today’s industry?

Graham Loakes

Walsall, West Midlands