Sir, I am looking for a plumbing apprenticeship - but they do not seem to exist. Not, at least, if you are a smart 20-year-old with your own transport.
Heads of the industry moan about not having enough new people coming into this sector but, as soon as you try, nobody wants to know.
They say, sorry, we only take 16-year-old school-leavers - presumably so they can pay them crap rates - instead of taking somebody that might be of some use and ready to shoulder responsibilities.
I have contacted lots of companies in my area and none wants to take anybody on. They all say the same thing: 'You're going to find it hard.' Well they are right about that.
You cannot even secure a place on a plumbing NVQ at college without first proving that you have a job placement.
Maybe it is all a ruse by the plumbing sector to keep rates artificially high. Good for them, not so good for anyone wanting to learn a new trade.
Ian Lock, by email