And you thought education left a lot to be desired now? Wait till you see what Labour have planned.
Teachers would have to be licensed every few years in order to work in England's state schools under a future Labour government, the BBC has learned.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said regular re-licensing of teachers would allow the worst ones to be sacked whilst helping others to receive more training and development.Now, regular readers will remember posts here about the perils of Puddlecote Inc, so let me tell you how this idea worked out for a private sector company. Because our employees were "helped" to receive more "training and development" too, not that a single one of them asked for it.
A few years ago, there was this brilliant idea - emanating from the EU - to insist that all currently licensed HGV and PSV drivers must take on 35 hours of training every five years. You could do so by taking 7 hours per year, or do it all in an intensive week long course. You'd have to pay, of course. Around £400 plus VAT at the very cheapest if you stored it up for the week long stuff.
Who pays for this is dependent on the company, some say that it is the driver's responsibility to keep their licence up to scratch, others felt pity and decided they'd shoulder the cost, but either way it was costly (all passed on to the customer) but had to be done or else the driver is off the road.
Our experience - and we offered to pay for the courses - was that our best drivers said "enough of this shit" and quit the game. Not just any old drivers either, it was mostly the most experienced older drivers who decided that it was a ridiculous idea, and that there was no way they were letting some snotty-nosed professional training adviser tell them how to do a job they'd performed brilliantly for decades.
The courses involved such vital skills modules such as vehicle security and crime prevention, economic driving, and customer care. You know, the kind of thing that employers used to be in charge of for free. As well as instruction on drivers' hours, defect reporting and safe loading ... which they have already learned in order to be licensed in the first place, and sessions in environmental sustainability and health and safety, natch.
Talking to trade associations and others, this stupid, pointless exercise in box-ticking by clipboard-wielding inspectors who've never done a day's work in our industry in their lives led to a loss of around 20% of drivers across the board. And this despite the courses being attendance only, meaning they could turn up - after paying by cash, cheque or credit card, of course - and read a book or fall asleep if they liked, there is no exam, no assessment, they get a certificate just for being there and wasting 35 hours of their lives and annual leave.
How Labour's plan would work is anyone's guess, but I expect it won't be attendance only so the effect will be amplified exponentially. It's going to be the best teachers who decide they are financially secure enough to throw their hands in the air and retire early rather than suffer such pathetically-imagined ignominy. And, as in our business, these are the ones who teach the younger - more readily indoctrinated - professionals their trade.
A more stupid policy for education is hard to imagine, especially since you can just imagine that the politically-correct crap the teaching profession is already subjected to will be magnified, and that - whichever way you cut it - it is the taxpayer who will pay for the course fees.
Unions criticised it as "pointless".For once, the unions are absolutely spot on, but then it is specifically designed to be pointless. It's very point is pointlessness. Licensing and inspections of professionals already trained for the job, and/or accepted by the school as competent, is simply a political exercise in pretending politicians have a useful role in society, in this case because the EU has largely usurped Labour's ability to do anything useful.
But here is one time when we should be pleading with them to properly think of the children. Do we want kids to be trained by experienced older professionals with decades of knowledge and skills to be passed on to colleagues, or should Labour be allowed to drive them out of the job by way of death by a thousand insults to their intelligence?
Four more years and my kids are out of it, God help those of you with younger ones.