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Review of Post-16 Education. 30th September 2011

I don’t really know if there’s duplication and overlap between the University of Abertay and Dundee University, which apparently face a forced merger.
Neither am I sure why, in Edinburgh, Stevenston College and Jewel & Esk College seek to merge, but Telford college does not.

Nor do I have proof that it’s wasteful of public money for Glasgow to have 5 HE Institutions and 8 FE Colleges.

Now, more than ever, our economic recovery is substantially dependent on investing in skills.

So increased tuition fees and decreases in college admissions are economically counter-productive and socially regressive, whereas money saved from eradicating any proven waste can be re-invested in skills.

Of course, not every young person wants to choose an academic route; nor should they.

Glasgow is not actually a “post-industrial” city. While it’s true that Shipbuilding and Engineering constitute a smaller proportion of the city’s overall economy than 30 years ago, it’s also true that there are still many world class engineering firms in Glasgow, such as BAE Systems, Castle Precision Engineering and Clyde Union Pumps, to name but a few.

Apprenticeships leading to well-paid trades such as Engineering are still around, whether they are with the above firms , or with the firms turning out ubiquitous and well-paid central heating engineers.

“Modern Apprenticeships”? No! I’m talking about traditional apprenticeships. The trouble with the essentially meaningless term “ Modern Apprenticeship” is that it leads some people to conclude that the traditional apprenticeship is no more. So by all means, let’s also train young people in the skills of Glasgow’s new industries, as well as its old ones, but let’s just call them apprentices.

Above all, no matter what route young people choose, the academic or the vocational, let’s try to guarantee them a future, or we will reap the whirlwind, socially and economically.

Charlie Gordon, 30th September 2011



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