Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Solve the unemployment crisis - keep kids at school

Julia Gillard wants to force students to stay in school longer, or to undertake skills training.

Keeping kids in school/university may be good for the unemployment numbers' bottom line, but it's not good for the kids who are not academically minded.

Raising caps on university places... what's that going to do? We're having trouble accommodating some larger courses in rooms for lectures... although it would mean that the popular courses would fill up - there are only so many places you can give students at university in many courses, universities just don't have the facilities for unlimited class/course sizes.

I suggest the government concentrate on helping school leavers who wish to do a trade, although it seems the plans they have now with subsidised apprentices are open to too much abuse by employers who pay apprentice wages to a subsidised employee and use them as a labourer. And then, just before the subsidy runs out, the "apprentice" finds he's not an apprentice any more because the boss has decided that he "hasn't the aptitude" (when this kid's been stacking wood for weeks, getting blisters on his hands, and has barely learnt anything from the "apprenticeship" because he hasn't been taught, which is the point of an apprenticeship).

Small businesses, like builders, chippies, plumbers, and sparkies can not afford to employ apprentices as apprentices need constant supervision and training for the first year or two. A builder contracting to build a house only factors in a certain percentage of the cost as his wages, and the wages of any other persons who he employs to help in the build. The builder can not afford to lose manhours teaching as this will lower his per hour profit. It would be the same with many small businesses which are trade focused.

My father had a business many years ago, a partnership. The partner robbed him blind and sent the business broke. All the creditors came after my father, he was the one who owned property and goods, unlike the partner who owned nothing, and even took the company ute! But that's another story. Dad had an apprentice who he trained, and who he found another apprenticeship for when the business folded - I don't think that the apprentice was indentured. This was in about 1977. The days of small businesses being able to support trainees are gone now.

And this idea is just utter rubbish. The problem with school leavers being unable to read, comprehend and/or do mathematics lies not with the length of time spent at school. It's with the teachers and perhaps with what passes for curriculum and curriculum outcomes and teaching methods these days.

Remember, everyone's a winner these days, noone fails. This prepares none for real life.


Anonymous said...

Sorry your Dad had a tough trot. I agree with all your comments 110%. Now we have the government instructing us again through another of its enormous bureaucracies, that of the apprenticeship industry. I heard a good one yesterday about a very experienced mine drilling worker whose employer needed to do some work on one of their NSW sites.

He couldn't start the job there until he had done a two day induction course (NSW OH&S) so he could work on this site. Think of the paperwork and useless government workers employed to maintain 'order' on drilling sites and demanding this experienced guy has to do an induction course. Unbelievable. Mehaul.

Boy on a bike said...

I hate the idea of pumping more kids into uni. Not everyone is cut out for uni. Even those who are cut out for uni may not do their best if they go to uni straight out of school. Going to uni doesn't necessarily make you smarter!

As for no one failing, whilst there are still teachers out there that will confront badly performing kids and their parents, they seem to be alot rarer than when I was a wee tacker.