Australian Commentary

The Importance of Apprenticeships

Preparing young people for employment is a vital role not only for parents, but also industry. The willingness of industry and businesses to accept apprentices, and to spend the time and money to prepare them for a lifetime of work, is essential for any society.

Should government have anything to do with this?

Absolutely nothing. The surest way to ensure the second rate status of almost anything socially productive, is to let civil government have a say in how it’s conducted. It will be instantly politicised, subjected to a carrot and stick approach by bureaucrats, and funded by the tax-payer; the quickest way to put the kiss of death on anything useful in society.

Any industry needs new people, because there are generally people retiring, or leaving for other employment. Not only that, but technology is changing the way every business operates. So, there need to be young people prepared to come in at the ground floor and learn from scratch how to do things. This is one of the reasons for apprenticeships. Initially, these are positions of lower pay and lots of grunt-work, but also immense potential.

The market-place has a wonderful way of sorting out conditions of employment. People talk,  discover what’s on offer in their area, and what reputation potential employers have, as employers and trainers of staff.

Businesses or individuals that develop a reputation for painstaking or diligent preparation of apprentices, will find they don’t have to look too hard for new people; they will probably be queuing up each year to start.

The idea of apprenticeship goes back thousands of years. The Bible says that Jesus “… went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out…” (Mk.3:13-14).

Later on, the success of Jesus with the disciples was apparent. After three years with the disciples, and after Jesus had ascended, the Bible says that as the rulers and elders in Jerusalem “…observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply” (Acts 4:13-14).

It was similar with Paul and Timothy. Nearing the end of his life, Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “…you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions and sufferings…” (II Tim.3:10-11).

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and come up with a better alternative than one that has been tried and tested for millennia. What we must do is accept the legitimacy and necessity of apprenticeships in many work-places, and permit businesses to easily engage in the process, without subjection to governmental control.

Individuals, businesses, families and the nation as a whole, will be better off.