YTS Scheme

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    I was just reading on the forum about road registering a garden tractor, then saw a mention of a P.C.V. license (Pedestrian Controlled Vehicle).

    This reminded me of when I first I did my initial horticultural training via the Government YTS Scheme in the late 1980’s. I worked at a public school and the grounds were amalgamated with the local town. I was allowed to use the *new* self propelled mower and if I had need to go near footpaths or anywhere the public was then I was not use the self-propelled function as it was a motorized machine and could be a danger to them, plus it made me (a then teenager) look idle when I should be pushing it!

    Who remembers the YTS scheme? Think I got £15 a week. No wonder I went into landscape design!

    It also reminds me of the now archaic machinery that was in the groundsman machinery shed. This consisted of mainly Hayter lawnmowers, a single strimmer of unknown make, one two-stroke hedge trimmer, a backpack sprayer, and a huge range of hand tools and wheelbarrows. The tractor line was a Leyland 154 and a Ford 1710 and a set of gang mowers. A later addition was a small MF with a PTO driven hedge cutter. The hedge cutter didn’t appear to do a very good job and many a mangled privet hedge was produced, although I blame the staff which was the typical range of old-boy groundsmen who had been there years and hence the lack of new machinery.

    I also recall a new steel cabinet being ordered to store the petrol cans and chemicals in as the old groundsmen used to sit next to this lot while smoking at brew times. And when the new MF tractor turned up one of the men drove it in to the garage and out the back breeze-block wall as he panicked and forgot where the brakes were.

    I presume all the schemes are now replaced with apprenticeships. Also a lot more health & safety regimes – looking back it’s no bad thing!


    I never took part in YTS but remember them. We think of 1980 as not long ago, forgetting it is now 40 years ago!
    Back in the early 1970’s I spent school holidays and weekends working on a farm, virtually no thought about safety, tractors without any roll over protection, MF65, MF135, and Fordson Super Major. It was an accident the farmer had when he hit a gate post with the front wheel of one of the tractors that taught me to never put my thumb inside the steering wheel. When he hit the gatepost the steering wheel spun round and almost ripped his thumb off. A painful and graphic lesson.


    One of our YTS trainees ended up in the water butt outside on the wash area. Something to do with being more than a little bit cheeky; it didn’t teach him a lesson but it got my colleague a reprimand when the YTS’s mother turned up to complain!


    We never got involved with YTS but did take lads for two weeks “ work experience” from the local Secondary Modern school. Some totally disinterested , some attentive but inept and one in particular very enthusiastic and came to work for us when he left school . Now runs a very successful garden machinery repair business.


    Nothing like feeling old!
    In 1984 I became a Lecturer in Horticulture at a Technical College (now probably a University}Although there was YTS it was fround upon,as cheap labour and subjects taught were watered down,although it might sound controversial,the whole time frame and period has to be looked at in context, not out.The whole labour market had upheaval,councils cutting back,with no in house training.Large companies failing not to mention British Steel.
    All organisations use to have their own accredited exams for their subjects,then suddenly from 1982,they all had to be unified to include the education system.I’m sure we all can remember the City & Guilds courses,the old Stage 1 & 2,They got changed to Phases,then some one thought up a better name NVQ’s! As we now know them by today NOT VERY QUALIFIED.
    In 1984 I was asked to teach Ex Steelworkers who were hoping to change careers under the Treaty of Paris Agreement.
    What this actually meant was to receive their full redundancy they had to retrain in certain subjects,which were Catering,Hairdressing,or Horticulture,the courses were called Iseps a form of City & Guilds
    I had 14 ex steelworkers teaching them Horticulture plus one Student who I can still remember his name as Foster!
    The main problem I had,was not that they were not interested, it was doing the basics,these poor guys had 20 to 30 years working in a Steelworks,and probably the only time they had wrote anything was signing for their wage packets.Needless to say teaching practice had to be re written.The good news though is I only lost 4 from natural wastage,1 to the local Hospital a crane driver who was a little over weight,he kept sitting on the classroom chairs and crushing them,one day got his leg caught and broke it.Nine passed and one of the nine came to run one of my businesses in London,then from their his own Nursery near Barnsley
    Then there was Foster,they broke the mould there,what a lad.Never paid attention, in his own world bless him.
    One day I asked a question.Why is the Financial Times Pink?
    To everyone’s surprises Foster answered it Chapter and verse.My question to him,was how did you know that.
    Well Sir my Dad is the Editor for the Telegraph!!!


    Absolutely priceless, Andrew! No one could have seen that one coming- the trouble is, why is the Financial Times pink?


    “Well Sir my Dad is the Editor for the Telegraph!!!” …….. and he doesn’t spell “fround” like you do.



    The answer to why the Financial Times is pink,they needed to get the news out as cheap as possible and pink paper was the cheapest.
    Funny you should pick me up on spelling,I would not spell it that way either,it’s my computer speller,it’s a bit like the predicted text on the phone,thought up by imberseals.

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