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FErret

The numbers don't add up to more free money

It's becoming quite a trend: companies publicise their huge numbers of apprenticeship applicants and use them to "prove" some hobby horse of theirs, such as why they should get more free government money.

Take construction company Seddon. The 1,400 applications it received for 75 places show that there are too many people on college construction courses with no jobs to go to and "it would make sense for more funding to go directly to employers".

It's easy to see how that would allow employers to cream off an admin fee from money meant for education, but not how it would create jobs. And it's better for students to be in full-time education at college than to be on the dole.

Siemens, meanwhile, complained that too few of the 1,000 applicants for 37 roles on its wind-power scheme were qualified. And yet it has no vacancies, so it must have made do somehow.

Perhaps it occurred to Siemens that some of the thousands of pounds the government is handing it is intended to provide the maths skills it complains are lacking, and that the point of apprentices is that they're not yet ready for the job.

Fastest junior Brit ever does his college proud

Much has been made of the UK's standing in international education league tables, but a student from Barking and Dagenham College has proved he is truly world class by taking gold in the athletics World Junior Championships.

Eighteen-year-old Adam Gemili became the fastest British junior ever as he won the 100m with a time of 10.05 seconds. This caps a successful few weeks for Gemili, who, his college explains, also qualified to compete in the London 2012 Olympics "just after achieving a distinction in his level 3 extended diploma in sports".

Clearly this is quite some achievement. FErret hopes that, should Gemili claim the Olympic gold, his mum has a big mantelpiece. Obviously the diploma certificate will have pride of place, but it would be nice to squeeze the medal in on the end somewhere.

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