Comment: ‘Investing in future can only be good’

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IT is easy to be cynical about plans to replace experienced and long-serving staff with fresh-out-of-school youngsters.

Indeed, the city council is not seeking to hide the fact that posts are to go as part of plans to save £400,000 from the ever-dwindling budget.

But the idea of recruiting apprentices to take up some of the slack, instead of presumably simply piling more work on to the remaining workforce, does seem to be at least trying to take a positive out of a negative.

Of course, there needs to be solid assurances that this is not simply cheap labour, and the concerns of the unions must be taken into ­account.

But if there are opportunities to allow young people who may otherwise be heading for the dole queue the chance to learn a trade then this has to be supported.

The Edinburgh Guarantee scheme, which was launched four years ago with the aim of getting school-leavers into either training, education or a job, has been hailed as a huge success so far.

The city has gone from being the worst-performing area in Scotland to being the best-performing city region in the space of a few short years.

With a return like that, it is entirely understandable that city leaders are very keen to expand its reach.

Of course, everyone would far rather apprentices were recruited in addition to the current workforce and not as a way of filling vacant posts and making up the numbers.

Those responsible for this scheme will need to be careful that it does not become counter-
productive.

Provided the right safeguards are in place, however, it is difficult to argue with an idea which seeks to tackle youth unemployment and helps to build a skilled workforce for the future.

Cutbacks are bad news for everyone at the city council. Investing in the future can only be good.