The Failure of 3aaa Apprenticeships Highlights the Need for Socialist Planning

Longstanding New Labour millionaire donor, Derek Mapp, certainly enjoys keeping company with the rich and powerful. Currently he is the chairman of the masters of spin, Huntsworth PLC — an international healthcare and communications group which is headed by Paul Taaffe, the former head of the ethically-unrestrained public relations giant, Hill & Knowlton.

Mapp, who not so long ago acted as the leader of the East Midlands Development Agency and Sport England, is now simultaneously employed as the chairman of the outsourcing giant, MITIE Group. However, Mapp’s current claim to fame stems from his chairmanship of well-known youth-profiteers, 3aaa Apprenticeships, a huge business which has just collapsed into administration, putting 500 jobs and 4,500 apprenticeships at risk. Spin it seems can only cover for so much excess!


Mapp’s misleader-in-arms at 3aaa – which is now being investigated for fraud — is a millionaire named Peter Marples, whose other extracurricular activities (until this month at least) involved his involvement in the not entirely unrelated activities of acting as the chairman of the Spencer Academies Trust. As it turns out, Marples is yet another New Labour booster, who during the 1990s became “one of the least known and more powerful people in further education.” No doubt this interest in privatising education made him a more than capable ally of Tony Blair.

Although Marples has now resigned from the chairmanship of the Spencer multi-academy trust, another intriguing character who still serves on the Trust’s board room is James Smith, a construction industry director employed by the Derbyshire-based contractor, Bowmer & Kirkland. This contractor happens to be led by Robert Kirkland, a well-known benefactor of the Tories who in recent years had also found it useful to fund the one-time Blairite MP for Derby North, Bob Laxton — a pro-war opportunist who, thankfully, has now been succeeded by Chris Williamson.

(We might also note that Marples was, at least in the past, good friends with Kirkland’s father through their shared interest in reaping vast riches from the beautiful game.)

What is clear is that there should never have been any room made in our education system for corporate profiteers or any sort. Education should be a public service that is provided under the democratic control of the working-class, not delivered at the whim of power-hungry capitalists. Likewise, apprenticeships should not be treated as just another way to super-exploit our youth!

Capitalism is clearly not up to the job of meeting if the most basic demands of the young, the old, or all those inbetween. This is why the campaign to abolish this failing system must be sped-up so we can end exploitation asap, replacing it with a humane, socialist alternative.


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