Why are there no apprentices in the House of Lords?

Lord Adonis

The House of Lords employs nearly 500 people. Not one of them is an apprentice, and only one member of staff is under the age of 21 – according to a Parliamentary answer I have just received.

How can Parliament preach apprenticeships to the nation if it has no apprentices itself? There is a highly prestigious route for graduates to become Clerks in both Houses of Parliament yet, although a good proportion of the work undertaken by employees of the Lords is very suitable for individuals trained by an apprenticeship route, there are no apprentices. Surely this needs to change, and fast, if we are to tackle youth unemployment as a nation and create a prestigious apprenticeship route for young people who do not go to university.

I have written to Lord Strathclyde, Leader of the House of Lords, inviting him to set up an apprenticeship scheme for House of Lords employees.

In answer to my question about apprenticeships, the House authorities tell me that the Lords has in the past run trainee archivist and records management schemes, and that apprenticeships have previously been offered by the Parliamentary Estates Directorate. However, all that is in the past tense. It is action, now, in the present that we need. If Parliament doesn’t lead, how can it expect anyone else to follow?

11 comments for “Why are there no apprentices in the House of Lords?

  1. 18/07/2012 at 10:59 am

    A fine idea.
    Even if I was desk-bound at the House of Lords, I’d be quite content.

  2. Lord Blagger
    18/07/2012 at 12:37 pm

    850 not employed then in the Lords (Peers)

    Why are they asking for redundancy pay?

    Why have you exempted yourself from taxes on your ‘expenses’?

    Why have you exempted yourself from HMRC on your expenses? Everyone else has to justify that their expenses meet the rules on expenses to the tax man. Namely that they are wholly and necessarily incurred. Tax evasion springs to mind, except you’ve made your tax evasion legal.

    Then there is the exemption from money laundering that you’ve got as well. Now if only HSBC had applied for the same exemption they wouldn’t be in their current mess.

    As for apprentices. I suggest getting some accountants in and checking up on government debts. Making sure they are on the books and not hidden in a ponzi scam.

    If Parliament doesn’t lead, how can it expect anyone else to follow?

    Everyone is learning. That’s why they are doing Jimmy Carr’s, because that’s the lead you’ve given. They are following the lead on expenses too. They’ve followed the lead on borrow and binge. They are following the lead on sex, marriage, drinking violence, …

  3. Senex
    18/07/2012 at 12:47 pm

    Nobody doubts your sincerity Lord Adonis but when we talk apprenticeships we must also talk ‘Common Sense’ because apprenticeships are the domain of the pragmatist.

    Commons Sense can be defined as something that is both practical and safe. Universities cannot teach this, its something that is learned in childhood and that is greatly diminished by a university education.

    Parliament is dominated by academics incapable of ‘Common Sense’.

    • maude elwes
      20/07/2012 at 2:56 pm


      Universities have never been able to teach ‘common sense’ as it is innate to the individual. And most uni students are very short of street wiseness.

      However, what they have been teaching for some time now, politically, is that New Labour (but it has seeped across the party spectrum) is, no longer enamoured by Methodism and conventional Marxism. As they have taken to embracing, Antonia Gramsci. He came up with the idea that revolution came through the infiltration and subversion of State and Civic institutions, which cetainly has seeped into our nation whole heartedly. They also decided, before taking up office in 1997, that the ideas of Herbert Marcuse, who pushed the premis of control of language, which has the consequence of eliminating free speech, as great thinking.

      These two changes have devastated the reputation of our top movers and shakers, who used the Blair as a pusher for these devotions. Pity they didn’t get him to go to the dentist when they decided he was the front man for this duplicity. On rethink, no, the British love their twisted, knarled and brown teeth, with a passion, until they have to kiss the face carrying the mouth of joy.




  4. Peter Watson
    18/07/2012 at 9:27 pm

    Presumably the staff are in a trade union and presumably their employer talks to them every now and again,even meets regularly with them.If this is the case couldn’t Lord Adonis’ proposal be put to them?
    Incidentally,I hope the staff are paid at least the living wage.It is a travesty of injustice if they are not.

    • maude elwes
      19/07/2012 at 8:20 am

      @Peter Watson:

      Aprenticeships are based on the ‘common sense’ of deferred gratification. Which means, you sacrifice now for the benefit of your future. The person or company that hires an apprentice makes little out of the person they take on in this role as they have no experience or knowledge of what the job entails. So, in fact, the employer loses money by having them around over the first years. The apprentice repays this largesse once they are fully trained and he/she becomes productive.

      Which is what Senex wrote in his previous post. Only, he is succinct, wheareas I beat around the bush.

  5. MilesJSD
    19/07/2012 at 6:12 am

    Why is it that
    unless you have a university degree
    you ‘can not get a “decent”
    (“prestigious” being resreved for non-degree apprenticeships, Lord Adonis ?)
    Job ?

    Why was this mind-functional failure not brought up by the 2010 so called “Youth Parliament” in the Green Chamber ?

  6. Baroness Deech
    Baroness Deech
    19/07/2012 at 10:14 am

    I used to employ young interns to help me with Lords work. But that was when we got an allowance of £75 a day for them, which I handed over to them. That has been removed, and I do not think it right to rely on someone who is unpaid. It is hardly surprising that there is no one on the staff under 21, as you would expect them to be graduates now that nearly half the population goes to university. The jobs in the Lords, whether archives, library or clerks, demand the highest research and other intellectual skills and a depth of knowledge. Life experience not a bad idea either. Arguably too many people go straight from education into think tanks or other political institutions, and then into Parliament without a “real job”, as some would say.

    • MilesJSD
      19/07/2012 at 7:10 pm

      If that was £75 per day per head, that would be £375 per head per five day week (of 40 hours
      = 25% of the total living timeframe);

      which would be 375/140ths of the guaranteed sufficient minimum income for one human-being to live in UK sustainworthily healthy, citizenlike, and environmentally-supportive of both the renewable and non-renewable lifesupports of the Earth and of our Civilisation
      £375 = almost three times the guaranteed minimum income,
      but is on account of the citizen
      NOT as an extra for the Employer of that citizen, surely ?

      In the greater overshadowing and underlurking financial, earnings and affordable-lifestyles Problems
      evidently some Jobs, Workers, Lifestyles and Livers
      are being grossly undervalued
      whilst others are being obscenely overvalued.

      Now, whatever has its inrinsic value correctly figured
      still needs to be “extrinsically valued”, alike by the ‘Topmost’ to the ‘Bottommost’
      of The People.

      That, both simply and corruptly-complexly, has not been happening
      nor is it even visibly, audibly and tactilely being planned to be made to happen

      “to call a Spade a Spade”
      “to give credit where credit is due”

      and to keep updating our Principles with such findings as that
      “praise can easily do more damage than good”

      (the latter “praise can easily become a Roadblock to both good-communication and cooperative-problem solving” was being reported even in the original work done by Dr Thomas Gordon who first published Method III Cooperative Problem Solving;

      and has since been independently found to be by others such as Prof Caroline Dweck and Prof William Powers;

      and I might propose (upwards to the PhD-community) adding
      “praise can also easily stifle the wholesome human development of the individual, as well as of aggregated human development of tghe entire Nation” …

      Lengthy apprenticeships might only more insidiously ‘instil’ such corruption into the unconscious minds of the trainees;
      no doubt including into the minds of those suggested greater numbers of “prestigious parliament-jobs apprentices”.

      • maude elwes
        24/07/2012 at 7:34 am

        The £75 per day raised by the Baroness as payment for HoL aprentices, is considerably more than the minimum wage, £249.50 per week for a 5 day 8hrs a day stint.

        That, therefore, cannot be considered an apprenticeship under current terms.


  7. Nazma FOURRE
    19/07/2012 at 11:15 pm

    Dear Lord Adonis,
    The best idea from my point of view is to propose a bill , allowing universities to provide the House of Lords with potential trainees.It is up therefore to the Ministry of Higher education in the United Kingdom to market for potential students to be trained at the House of the lords through a convention stipulating the period of training and the salary to be paid to these trainees.
    God bless the united Kingdom. God save the Queen.
    Nazma FOURRE

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