Monday, 20 March 2017

SUBWAY's Sandwich Artist "Apprenticeship"

In Gateshead, Subway is offering 8 positions for an 35hr/week, £3.40/hr (for those under-19), 14 month long apprenticeship. Apprentices will "greet and serves guests, prepare food and maintain food safety and sanitation standards".

Last time I checked, shoving sterile-tasting rations of meat and "salad" into hunks of bread under the watchful gaze of a hungry punter whose current dilemma is whether the extra pickles are worth it does not really constitute a substantial educative experience, and so it is fairly dishonest to pitch doing so as an apprenticeship.

14 months is far too long for such a repetitive and simple task - from a standpoint of actually providing something useful to apprentices, it makes no sense to run the scheme for so long. What the scheme actually does provide is a Level 2 diploma in work based food production and cookery, but the conditions under which this is provided are unsavoury, to say the least.

It isn't to say that "theHospitality Sector" is illegitimate or somehow beneath people, but the relations between the employer and the apprentices in this case are profoundly unequal. Teenagers who become "Apprentice Sandwich Artists" are told they'll be treated like crap but will have to smile like they enjoy it. This is the ultimate perversion of many jobs as they are marketed to today's youth.

While this is just a single franchise (so it's still "morally permissible" for you to get a cheeky sub after school, don't worry), it calls the legitimacy of both Subway as corporation which has "business ethics" and the Apprenticeships Service, which is supposed to help young people instead of screwing them over, into disrepute.

Apply here. 

DISCLAIMER: This is a critical article and so is comprised of the personal opinions of the author.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Sexual Reeling

After the Department of Education recently announced that children should be taught about sexting, the government has announced that sex and relationships education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England.

All children from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships, Education Secretary Justine Greening said, as until now, sex education has been compulsory only in council-run schools. Children will also be taught, at an appropriate age, about sex. But parents will still have the right to withdraw their children from these classes.

I don't know entirely where I stand on this one. The idea of children not properly learning about sex and relationships is one that should be avoided. The only way to minimise sexual harassment, abuse and rape in our society will be through education. So it seems that sex education is the best answer. We want to grow into adults who can treat each other with respect, and have a relationship without fear of accidentally abusing a partner or being abused.

Yet, the evidence of the standard of sex education in state schools is gravely unsatisfactory. I can only vouch for experiences of Hampstead's Sex Ed, but different students from varying years have conveyed vastly differing degrees of education. Rather than learning how to put a condom on, or using the pill, or learning who to go to in the case of an STD or an unwanted pregnancy, I was 'taught' about what love was - the most intangible concept I can think of - and graphically what it looked like to have herpes. Other people from other years told me that they had better experiences, some had worse, some had none at all. 

If in just one school different people can have wholly different understandings of sex, then I hate to think of the vast divergence of knowledge that children are leaving school with. Our Sex Ed needs to be standardised and greatly improved. In the new proposals, no mention was made of any new information to be given about abortion, and the system has yet to teach how to be safe in gay relationships. If the whole point of Sex Ed is to make people safer, then because of purely political ideologies swathes of young people may be ill-equipped for a healthy sex life.

Critics of the proposal, such as Christian Concern said "Children need to be protected, and certainly when they're [still at primary school], we need to be guarding their innocence." Because the clergy are so good at doing that.  "We need to be protecting them from things, working with parents to ensure that what they might need to know - which will be different for every child, different in every context across the country - is properly looked at." Bollocks. Every child has the same reproductive organs, most likely the same concerns, and, unless someone finds a new and innovative way of involving the ears, will have sex the same too. The advice should be the same across the board so no one is less equipped with the information and no one is more likely to be taken advantage of.

National co-ordinator of The Safe at School Campaign, run by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "Parents will be absolutely powerless to protect their children from presentations of sexual activity, which we know is part of many sex education teaching resources for primary school children. [...] The state simply cannot safeguard children in the same way that parents can. This proposal is sending a huge message to parents that they are unfit to teach their own children about sex." Absolutely powerless and in complete command of the situation are two very different things. As stated above, parents will still be able to remove their children from Sex Ed classes - a move that further diminishes the principle of all children having equal understanding - in fact, they can pull them out of school entirely if they feel so inclined. When it comes to safeguarding, unless those parents are going to be there in the room when the kid has his or her first awkward fumble in the dark, they're probably going to have to tell the child the exact same stuff as the school. 

The bit that got me was that the government may be "sending a huge message to parents that they are unfit to teach their own children about sex." You don't say. If parents were such perfect humans that they could provide a helpful understanding of sex and relationships without embarrassment to their children then we wouldn't have boys growing up thinking women are objects of pleasure, or rape is acceptable (or, more commonly, acceptable if the two are married) or girls thinking they are only worthy if they are a virgin or that they can't have sex even if they want to, etc. The problem with shrouding sex in religious ideology is that it removes the child's ability to choose the type of life they want to lead.

In short, sex education in schools may not be perfect, in fact it may not be anywhere close to satisfactory, but it is way better than anything else.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Wavy Wednesday #9

Pictured: Mr Szemadcowdiseaski nurturing himself on the fat and proteins of a human.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Pupils 'Should Probably Be Taught About Sexting'

School children should learn about pornography and sexting before they're exposed to it, apparently.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said “if they're gonna do it, they may as well do it properly”, emphasizing the importance of tact and sensitivity when asking for nudes.

Sex education in the UK currently consists of students trying to rip the chastity belt off a life-sized™ wooden doll, much to the amusement of their fellow classmates, until they are reminded by their teacher that they have to get them drunk first.

Some analysts have pointed out that during the free talks and presentations on “Consent and You and Me”, the most attentive members of the audience are usually the really rapey kids, who tend to take pages of notes which are promptly stapled together, dated and stamped before they are stowed in a leather dossier of legal documents.

Some have argued however that the non-biological aspects of reproduction (i.e. the long stints of inactivity between sex) have no place in modern society, and should therefore not be taught,  stating that “the less they know about relationships, the better”.

DISCLAIMER: This article is a spoof. We recognize the importance of proper sex education, but we also recognize that it is not provided.