Tories lash out at apprentices – we need a National Education Service

The Tories are planning to cut funding for colleges that train apprentices by up to 50% next year, with the bulk of the cuts falling in the most deprived areas.

The most popular apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds, in business administration and construction, are being cut by anywhere between 27% and 52% depending on geographical location. But funding is increasing for apprentices who are over 24, living in wealthy areas outside of London, and working for big businesses.

The result is going to be that some apprenticeship training will have to be scrapped, with London being particularly hard hit.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers is asking the government why all 16-18 year old apprentices aren’t fully state funded. We’d add that we think that all those in education or training of any kind should be fully state funded, with grants to give them a decent standard of living and no loans or tuition fees locking people into a lifetime of debt.

The Labour MP David Lammy says that these cuts are evidence that the government sees apprenticeships as a “poor cousin” to higher education. We also can’t see the logic behind separating out apprenticeship training and university courses. Surely every young person needs to study both the theory and practice of the work that they’re doing? In fact education shouldn’t stop when you leave school or university – it is something that should be provided and funded for the whole of your life.

This is why we need a National Education Service that provides good quality, free education to everyone from cradle to grave. Jeremy Corbyn has spoken about this concept before. An education system, properly integrated with the needs of society, needs democratic planning in the interest of need and not profit. Privatisations and fees must be scrapped. Funding for a National Education Service must come from the nationalisation without compensation of the banks and big business, which have made their shareholders rich thanks to the education of new generations. But we should be realistic: none of this can be achieved within the limits of a system based on private profit. Socialism is the way forward.

Defend apprenticeships!
For fully funded education from cradle to grave!
Fight for socialism!