"Most builders are self employed and don't want to work! Have you ever tried calling up an electrician in this day and age? Or don't you live in the real world yet?"This tweet has annoyed me considerably. I work in an office in front of a visual display unit every day. It strikes me that people who work with their hands, who get their hands dirty if you like, are not valued by our political class at all.
When the Labour party declared it their aim to get 50% of young people to go to university that was in my opinion a great mistake. What they effectively did was firstly to kick 50% of the potential unemployment problem down the road by 3 years, greatly enriched universities and in the process changed many colleges of further education into universities - another mistake in that it made colleges of Further Education seem less valuable than universities. (I took two A levels and two 'O' levels at a college of further education as I did not work at school).It also greatly enriched those colleges and universities.
What they SHOULD have done (and what we could still do) is to have said that those who work with their hands have EQUAL value to those who work with their heads and sit on their backsides all day (as I do). Fully qualified builders, plasterers, painters, electricians and engineers should have their trades recognised by employers and others as 'degree equivalent' (why not?). SRN (State Registered Nurse) should have been recognised as degree equivalent by virtue of the training itself. Why not a degree in Painting or Brick laying?
The fact is that the problem with calling up an electrician in this day and age is that good electricians are hard to come by and you generally have to wait for them. I recently had the internal downstairs of my home painted and I had to wait 6 weeks for a good reliable painter - the same applies to the qualified gas fitter who tests my boiler annually. I have to work around him as he is in high demand.
I think that the Government and Labour Party could do much worse than re-introduce apprenticeships and to give tax breaks to employers who train people to work with their hands. There could be a tax 'bonus' for every fully trained bricklayer, plasterer, plumber, electrician, painter etc that they produce. Once they had fully completed whatever the laid down training was they would be regarded as 'degree equivalent' by all employers. Who says that a plasterer is not equal to the person who works out that plasterers pay?
This can still be done. Not everyone can work well with their 'mathematical' brain. I am hopeless at working with my hands and DIY and have to employ someone else to do it because I CAN'T do it. The painter I employed was just as valuable as me - maybe MORE valuable. Their work if well done also has great value. You would pay good money for a meal why not pay good money to have your walls painted well in the colour you want?
There is massive housebuilding going on in the vicinity of where I live. Bicester, Milton Keynes, Buckingham and Aylesbury have all seen massive building programmes and we should value all the builders, plasterers, painters, ground work persons and others who make it happen. We might even reduce unemployment further. Look at the skill of making a muddy field into a housing estate with roads, drains, electrical and other infrastructure and ask yourself could you be a surveyor, builder, plasterer or painter.
There is a very good case for bringing back colleges of further education and technical schools to produce the artisans and the tradespersons of tomorrow. The fact that they have the skill to work with their hands marks them out as important people. That is the message of this post.
Those who work with their hands are just as good as you and me - maybe better.
People who work with their hands are important people.