VILLAGE 'PRENTICES [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]
Sus,—As chairman of the Plumbing Trades National Appren- ticeship Council, I read with much interest the paragraphs under the above heading in your current issue, because the whole, question of the present user of these old country apprenticeship funds is at present engaging the attention of my Council.
There can be no doubt that there is at present a good deal of ignorance about many of these old Trusts and that their funds are often not as wisely applied as could be wished. . In many cases the Charity Commissioners have been able to intervene and secure some modification of the original Trusts. But it could be wished that wider powers were available, under which the Commissioners, or the Board of Education, could more readily intervene in cases where the original intentions of the pious founders can no longer be carried out, or it is clearly in the public interest that the Trusts should be modified.
The aggregate annual income from these old Trusts, often to be found in remote villages up and down the country, must amount to a considerable sum, which, if wisely applied, could materially assist the cause of indirstrial training' among our village boys and girls.
Personally, r am altogethei opposed to the Payment of apprenticeship premiums, and consider that much of the money now devoted to that purpose could better be employed in bringing facilities for technical education within the reach of the rural apprentice, or in providing him with, outfits of tools, books bearing on his craft, &c. In these days of motor transport it is much easier, given the funds, Jo bring the village lad to the Technical Inititute in.the nearest. 'large town than it used to be in pre-War times. But the real desideratum is that all the apprenticeship funds in a given county should be pooled and applied with greater wisdom by one directing authority ;f6ithe outstanding nee& of the county's young • ._ 18 Holland Villas Road, Kensington, .W. 14j,