The propaganda surrounding apprenticeships in the NHS is one of omission. The NMC and RCN – the twin cheerleaders of neoliberal government policy – endorse ‘apprenticeships in nursing’, which are different from ‘nursing apprenticeships’.
The former MEANS of exploitation is open to a mass of young people, as shown by entry level requirements:
intermediate level – leading to qualifications at level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs).
advanced level – leading to qualifications at level 3 (at least A level standard).
‘Nursing apprenticeships’ involve a 50/50 split of ‘work experience’ and theoretical knowledge, the latter under the auspices of a NMC approved education institution, which will eventually be in-house NHS units, staffed by ‘apprentice lecturers’.
Apprentices are not guaranteed a job at the end of their work experience, reminiscent of the ‘job creation’ schemes of the past, where the cheaply paid apprentice was ditched before qualifying for a better paid, permanent post, to be replaced by the new, cheap apprentice.
At the lower end of the scale, the under 19 apprentice dogs-body earns as little as £2.68 an hour, and older apprentices are also put on this rate for the first year of their ‘service’, before being given as little as £3.30 per hour in subsequent years. Some get even less scraps: Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2014 showed that 16-18 year old apprentices were subject to minimum wage non-compliance, with nearly a quarter not getting the minimum in 2013.
Young people leaving school or local colleges are to be herded into ‘service’ – NHS apprenticeships are expected to reach 100,000 in England alone by 2020, seven times the current figure. Wherehas the majority of apprentices were existing staff at the inauguration of this scheme, the new recruits will be mainly from young people duped/cohersed into starting what they will cynically be termed ‘a career’.
The will simply plug the gaps, and NHS manages have no option but to use them, as the government will charge NHS Trusts £200 million a year from 2017, which will only be redeemed to pay for apprenticeship training and certification. Thus, the absolute lie of NHS Trust autonomy is exposed as a sham.
The government are preparing the way for the takeover of the NHS by American Corporations, which demand a very cheap, ‘flexible’ (work split-shifts), and compliant (no complaining) workforce.
It is a despicable abandonment of the defence of workers’ rights by those ‘unions’ (RCN/UNISON) who merely call for ‘better quality apprenticeships’ and ‘more transparency’, i.e. will the apprentice get a full time, properly paid job, at the end of their stint?. That is, they ask a question to which the know the answer, merely to look as if the are demanding something. They do not oppose the scheme, as such. They also suggest that union branches should pay the £10 per year union membership fee for each apprentice-serf recruited!
Recruitment is, of course, the main game in town, as it is with the RCN, who take subscription fees from registered nurses whilst supporting schemes which lessen their number. A dictionary definition of charlatan (also called swindler) is a person practising quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception.
Put on this cap, my dears, for it certainly fits.
So called unions are merely trying to tinker with a system which sees a typical 17-year-old earning £95 a-week in the first year of their healthcare apprenticeship, but, even if living at home, are left with just £40 a-week after meeting travel, food and course costs.
The three main political parties supported such scams in the run-up to the general election.
They are all merely the managers of Capitalism. They snidely offer the opportunity to ‘earn whilst you learn’. They supposedly offer a chance to gain a skill whilst working in a ‘real job with a wage’.
The era of this £40 a week shit-shoveller is not new. It was a common practice in Victorian times to cower and exploit apprentices, and to constantly remind them to be grateful to their lords and masters; to tug their forlock, doff their cap, bend their knee, bow and curtsy. That is, cynically exploited youth are expected to behave in the same way as pretend-unions do to their political masters.
RISE EXPLOITED YOUTH!
THROW OFF THE YOKE OF EXPLOITATION!
TELL THE POLITICIANS AND THEIR PRETEND-UNION STOOGES WERE TO SHOVE IT!
lenin nightingale 2016