YEP Letters: July 17

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

End the stigma over apprenticeships

Cassandra MacDonald, Head of Accountancy and Tax Apprenticeships, Kaplan, Leeds.

Of the many initiatives announced in last week’s budget was an apprenticeship levy on all large businesses to contribute towards the cost of funding apprenticeships.

The theory appears to be that many businesses are not doing enough to give opportunities to and invest in the training of young people.

In the accountancy sector we are seeing that the reverse is actually true. We are working with many employers of all sizes who have committed to growing their existing apprenticeship offerings over the next few years.

The training young people receive on these schemes is a fantastic opportunity that in all cases will lead to them achieving a professional qualification sometimes up to chartered status.

What we are finding however is that many of these employers are simply not able to fill the vacancies they have on offer, leaving apprenticeship places either empty or being offered instead to graduates.

In our recent whitepaper ‘ School Leaver Recruitment: Engagement, Attraction, Assessment’, we spoke to over 130 employers, many of whom admitted that attracting school leavers was a real challenge.

One of the main barriers was the fact that careers advice in schools was inconsistent and when it was provided, was heavily weighted towards 
university over apprenticeships and other vocational offerings.

In some cases this is due to lack of awareness whilst in others there is clear prejudice towards university.

In one case a parent was asked by her daughter’s school to sign a disclaimer to say the school accepted no responsibility for the fact her bright child was going to do an apprenticeship.

Whilst there clearly 
needs to be a focus on providing opportunities for young people, we also 
contend that the Government must do more to address 
the lack of impartial, informed careers advice in schools.

Otherwise, what’s the point of asking employers to contribute towards a levy to fund three million new apprenticeships if young people are then not made aware of them or even worse, are made to feel guilty for wanting to apply for one?

Tube drivers not under paid

Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet

My 22-year-old granddaughter is a hospital staff nurse, a job she loves and to get it she studied hard at university for three years, graduating with first-class honours. She works full time undertaking shift work, which includes night shifts and is responsible for people’s lives.

For this her basic pay is less than £22,000 a year, but she doesn’t complain.

So please Mick Cash (general secretary of the RMT union) don’t try to tell me that London tube train drivers who get in excess of £49,000 a year are”under paid”

Next time they threaten another day of disruption, sack the lot and offer their jobs on Facebook.

Destruction of the landscape

John Roberts, Wakefield

Network Rail richly deserve an award for their acute sensitivity to the environment. I’m joking, of course. More like crass insensitivity.

I walk by Sandal cricket ground in Wakefield on my way to work at a local school. During the spring I noticed how attractive the vista looked with the lineside trees and shrubs on the embankment.

It now looks like a scene from one of those paintings of the aftermath of a First World War battle. A scarred, ruined landscape.

In April Channel 4 News ran a feature on what is a nationwide policy; the issue at that point was that Network Rail is not supposed to cut down trees in the nesting season. Sixty year old trees cannot just grow back.

Of course lineside trees and shrubs need to be managed, but why on this scale? It is more like wholesale destruction.

Railways have been with us for 175 years, so why now? It is health and safety gone berserk.

The tracksides of Britain’s railways have always been a valuable ecological asset, encouraging biodiversity, being free from pesticides.

Of course it does not help when some people make inane comments like it makd the cricket field ‘lighter.’

I’ve never heard such a silly argument. Buildings block the light too you know.

Perhaps such people would preferto live in a desert where there is no shortage of light. They don’t call England a green and pleasant land for nothing.

The lineside environment requires careful and sensitive management, not a sledgehammer approach.

The sad irony is that Network Rail is destroying one of its ace cards: the fact that railways are fundamentally kinder to the environment than our road system with all its congestion, accidents and land consumption.The future is rail, undoubtedly, but decimating lineside habitats in this way will do them no favours at all.

What about the silent majority?

B Carr, Leeds 11

Replying to Jack Banner’s letter criticising Phillip Cook’s letter regarding the Grand Depart hype (July 13), I find it the attack on Mr Cooke quite ridiculous.

Just because he didn’t jump onto the Grand Départ bandwagon. Calling him “a soulless individual” and suggesting an inability to ride a cycle are behind his views on the over the top Grand Départ hype is petty and self righteous.

I find Mr Cook’s letter bang on actually.

Granted, thousands lined the streets but many more people stayed at home or went shopping. Is Mr Banner familiar with the term ‘silent majority’?

Certain people in the media are obsessed with what at the end of the day was just one day in our city over a year ago. It wasn’t unique to Leeds and Yorkshire , as the TDF visits many different places every year.

Also the hype over ‘Sir’ 
Gary Verity is well over the top. He’s just a man doing a job and no doubt getting a very good salary for doing so.

It seems some want his name putting forward for a sainthood!

Maybe in future Mr Banner should concentrate more on quality rather than quantity with his YEP letters.

YEP Letters: October 19