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How about copying Germany in having schools that specialise in producing skills appropriate for each ability level? That seams to be the main explanation for their success.

They have been writing reports and talking about this for decades, but they always mess it up. They are always ready to enrich another group of "training providers" and the whole farce continues.

The love of bureaucracy here means paper shiffling is regarded as the highest form of life; and making or doing things is considered declasse and something you get foreigners to do. We hear how The City is so important but never abour Engineering or Chemicals or Printing spoken of in the same way.

More is made of a debt-funded LBO of a business than the fact that James Dyson built one from scratch with nothing but rejection from The City.

I begin to believe the cultural thesis that the British are simply good butlers and estate agents but incapable of running an industrial society given the option of playing country squire with City bonuses

William MacDougall's got the right idea. Germany excels in vocational training as it does in academic pursuits because its education system is selective. The same is true of France. The vile old left is always banging on about what terrible places secondary moderns are but a) they are not; b) they're better than dumprehensives; c) they would be improved by a series of ties with vocational institutions and interests. According to the great and wonderful Melanie Phillips, German school children of low academic potential outshine their English peers precisely because their education feels relevant to their talents. Redwood's sly little report looks increasingly like a well aimed torpedo, travelling at speed towards the anitquated barge of Cameron's de haut en bas educational fudge.

Sooner or later our society will be forcibly reminded of the value of engineering and production - no doubt it will coincide with a significant hike in the cost of imports and a realisation that we have to pay through the nose because we have no-one capable of filling the gap.
It's good that Redwood and Hayes are putting ideas forward. I just hope that those in charge will show a bit of foresight and actually do something sooner rather than later.

German school children of low academic potential outshine their English peers

I do't think I'd use that term since apprentices still need a competency in Maths and German and English to get hired as an Azubi (Auszubildender)on a training scheme.

THe big problem Germany has at present is a shortage of Lehrstellen - Apprenticeships - especially since the Bundeswehr reduced the size of the draft leading to more young men having to find a Lehrstelle as the companies shift operations into Central Europe



Another success story from NuLab, I trust they will take full responsibility.

TomTom, I share some of your misgivings. Both the major parties seem to think that indefinite prosperity will be achieved by placing the entire economy as a one-way bet on the residential property market and financial services. Financial services, which drives the property market, is one of the most mobile industries in the world. Given that Indian graduates often speak better English and are much better at maths than our own, why is it inevitable that the City will continue to enjoy its current success?

This has been my hobby horse for a long time and I fully agree with TomTom and Deborah. The situation will not change until we shut down the mickey mouse universities and do away with the meaningless degree courses. Without exception the new universities have a high attrition rate.
Vocational training schemes, better funded science and engineering education. The City itself will collapse when the bug banks start outsourcing the back office jobs to India. So we better start making things again.
And if it means paying commissions to secure a deal to sell defence (or offensive equipment), so be it. Otherwise we will be exporting even more jobs to France and America.

But Yogi, how are we going to make things competitively when we've outsourced the "back room City jobs"? What is it that all of a sudden is going to be cheaper to buy from us or of such quality that it's worth paying more?

It's all well and good saying we'd better make things but they have to be things people will pay money to buy.

We have some niche areas in this still which we need to support and ensure get a good supply of graduates. What we don't need is sneering at people who work in the City or sneering at people who make things. We need a vibrant responsive education and skills system which can react to supply what both these areas need.

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