Ending the dash to university

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From: Alec Denton, Oxford Avenue, Guiseley.

I WAS pleased to read the article by Stuart Andrew MP (Yorkshire Post, January 4) in support of apprenticeships.

Under successive administrations, the apprentice route to a career has been sadly neglected and replaced by a government-inspired dash to university “as an end in itself”.

It is perhaps relevant that Mr Andrew, unlike the majority of present day MPs, did not go to university and actually had a non-political career before entering politics. He can therefore genuinely claim to understand the value of work from first-hand experience.

If apprenticeships are to succeed, Government support is vital, but I fear they will fail unless the attitude of schools and the way schools are funded is changed.

A good apprentice has many of the same qualities that make a good university student and this means competition.

I was formerly employed to recruit promising school students for careers in the chemical industry, where college and university education to degree level via day release was a requirement to provide academic support for the career.

Unfortunately, these apprenticeships have largely disappeared, in part due to the reluctance of schools to release able 16 year-olds or to encourage 18 year-olds to look at alternatives to university.

Sadly, many schools view going to university at 18 as having a much higher status than leaving to pursue a career and a by-product of this blinkered approach has been the demise of many of the ONC and HNC courses formerly studied by apprentices.

I hope the Government has thought through the amount of support that will be required.

Milk sold as loss leader

From: Robert Stead, St Peter’s Avenue, Sowerby Bridge.

AS a self-employed dairyman, I am a little concerned as to the Tesco milk price per pint and the amount that Tesco pay their suppliers (Tom Richmond, Yorkshire Post, January 7).

I think it was very misleading to quote 49p per pint with 30p going to suppliers under the picture of one pint glass bottles when the amount Tesco said it paid its suppliers is 30p per litre, about 15p per pint.

The picture showed glass bottles which to the best of my knowledge are not available from supermarkets but are from roundsmen like myself.

We have recently had to increase the price of a pint delivered to the doorstep from 51p to 55p, the first increase for over three years with over half of that price going to the supplier.

This is a sustainable price allowing my supplier to invest in his farm and keep up with all the regulation and hygiene demands of running a producer processing bottling plant.

Roundsmen are under the shadow of the axe as supermarkets continue to use milk as a loss leader. We, as servants to our communities, need a positive Press.

If, or when, we are forced out of business we will be sorely missed and I don’t think would be able to make a return, should the public realise what it has lost for the sake of a few pence a week.

Details of my business can be found on my website www.ryburnvalleymilkman.co.uk.

Mercy killings – the snag

From: John Wilson, Wilsons Solicitors, New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds.

IF you want to commit suicide go ahead and do it (Jayne Dowle, Yorkshire Post, January 9). It’s a free country. If you want me to help you, I see no objection in principle. But in practice I might be concerned that after you are gone I am the only witness. That concern might be heightened if you are one of those poor souls who is so ill as to be unable to communicate a wish, so that I have to make the decision for you.

I have these concerns because I am a nice genuine chap who just wants the best for you. So I suppose a law that said I could get on with it and quote “mercy killing” to the authorities as a sort of get out of jail free card would be very useful. The trouble is that not everybody is as nice as me.

Their only goal in life

From: George Appleby, Clifton, York.

I’M fed up with these public school, Oxford, Cambridge reared leaders we have now (Tom Richmond, Yorkshire Post, January 7).

They have no idea what real life for the masses is about or like. The best leaders are those who have come up the hard way from the bottom and know how to survive on very little.

They have a genuine feeling for real people whose basic ambitions are to work hard, make an honest living, respect other people and bring up families to do the same, enjoying life as best they can.

The others don’t have a clue about what really matters to real people.

They play one group off against the others and use them all for profit, this being their most important goal in life.