Last week's decision to fund another 7,800 apprenticeships should be applauded. But let's get this right. In reality, employers create apprentices. In current times, can we expect companies to take on another 7,800 employees? During a recession, new apprenticeships are often the first to suffer.
Currently, funding goes towards external exams and college fees, and I even question whether all the current college places for apprenticeships are taken up. So, if government is serious about this, it must make grants and incentives available to companies, big and small, to recruit, or it simply won't happen.
We then have to ask what type of apprenticeships we need. Gordon Brown recently announced that McDonald's would be one of the biggest providers of apprenticeships. But do we really want to create a nation of burger bar managers?
Apprenticeships should be all about creating a new army of quality craftsmen and women who will become the engineers, mechanics, electricians, plumbers and joiners of tomorrow, building an infrastructure for an ambitious nation
Gerard Eadie, chairman, CR Smith, Dunfermline.