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This is a question Screwed over by The Man

We once made a flash animation for a record company. They told us it was brilliant and 30 staff gave us a round of applause. They asked us to stick it out without their name on it. Then their legal department sent us a cease and desist for infringing their copyright. How have you been screwed over?

(, Fri 3 Aug 2012, 13:46)
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Not all training centres are equal
After leaving school in 1997 aged 16 I found myself in a bit of a rut, I simply didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Looking through the local paper I saw what I thought to be the answer to my prayers: A skills centre for teens that offered the option of doing the then newly introduced NVQ qualification - the so called modern apprenticeship scheme. Having received my NVQ training credits card (a blue plastic card with the yellow NVQ logo) I quickly arranged an interview.

I was shown around the place, the idea was that you'd try all manner of different trades, welding, brick laying, motor mechanics etc in order to find what you liked and then start working toward an apprenticeship in that field.

A brilliant idea in principle and to this day I think its a clever idea to offer this sort of introduction to real work to early school leavers like myself. I had a great time, I learned that I had a knack for electronics and that I was frankly lethal when attempting welding (turns out that if you have the knack, you can in fact use a mig welder to drill holes through a couple of 3mm thick metal sheets). Also learned the value of good stock keeping, acting as a storeman for their automotive dept and in doing so stopped a spate of thefts that had been going on for weeks.

There wasn't the availability to do my NVQ there in electronics, so I signed up with another provider that specialised in electrical and mechanical engineering.

The NVQ scheme was broken up into two parts: A foundation course - NVQ2, where you learned how to read and create technical drawings as well as use basic hand tools in mechanical engineering, health and safety etc, it then split to a specialisation - you could choose to do either electrical or mechanical engineering, though you also had the option of doing one after the other if you so wished. The second part was the modern apprenticeship or NVQ3 itself, this would be part paid for by a company and part by your NVQ credits...

Specialising in the electrical side of things I was truly in my element. The tasks came naturally to me, there was no bullying and the trainers treated you like adults. I had a great time making the test pieces in the electrical side - things like building a ring main spur (one light that could be operated by either of two switches - the sort of setup you'd find with a flight of stairs) or the electronics side learning to solder and building neat little things like an astable multivibrator (two LEDs that flashed alternately).

I passed the foundation section with flying colours with both my sense of self worth and my confidence being as high as they had ever been. Things were finally looking up.

Right until the head of my section had to sit me down and explain that there was no way I would be eligible for an apprenticeship. Turns out that you only have enough credits to do one NVQ2 and part of the NVQ3, but that the skills centre drew their funding from the same pot (something that was frowned upon deeply by many of the actual training centres - the skills centre was only supposed to tap them when actually on the NVQ, not the taster sessions), I didn't have enough left and no company was prepared to take the full burden.

I've been told that the loopholes the skills centre used to exploit have long since been plugged and that the whole area of modern apprenticeships has been radically overhauled since I passed through, but it did and still does annoy me that it was allowed to go on at all.


(edits for clarity)
(, Mon 6 Aug 2012, 5:49, closed)
Hang on, two days ago you were going to be a nurse or some such.

(, Mon 6 Aug 2012, 13:39, closed)
This was back in 1997-8. But yeah, I should clarify that.
(, Mon 6 Aug 2012, 13:48, closed)

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