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Does our education system meet the needs the workplace

(83 Posts)
Joelsnan Thu 10-May-18 19:51:37

During the 1980s or so when youth unemployment was soaring the government encouraged universities to offer courses and and encouraged students to attend university rather than become another unemployed number.
Many students leave university with degrees that do not offer the financial rewards for their efforts or the skills for the workplace and hugh debt.
Wouldn't it be better if ineffective university courses were abolished and good workplace based apprenticeships championed.
Industry would get the skills they need, apprentices would be paid while they learned, no student debt as a liability to the student or government if unpaid and any lack of EU employees repatriating would be taken up by skilled and solvent youngsters.
Nursing would most definitely benefit from o a return to hospital based training in respect to bodies on the wards and the development of a more holistic caring nurse. Nursing is a vocational profession not academic, plus current student nurses get no oayment for their times working in hospitals.

Grandad1943 Fri 11-May-18 11:10:57

Certainly higher education in Britain does need thorough review in my opinion as the present structure is failing Britain's commercial requirements. Within the UK economy a skill shortage exists which I believe threatens Britain's economic future if not met from within our education system in the post Brexit era.

As has already been stated in this thread much emphasis is placed on young persons attaining a university place and then a degree in our present structure. However, where I find myself at odds with that thinking is the type of attainment achieved on graduation.

Britain is heavily deficient in graduates with science, engineering or even equipped for careers in many of the professions when leaving our universities or other higher education establishments. In the past that deficiency has been somewhat made up by migrant high skills workers coming to Britain. However, with the Brexit vote that flow has dramatically reduced compounding an already poor situation.

Therefore, I believe that incentives have to be brought forward that will encourage people to enter higher education to study and train in the skills that the UK requires for the long term maintenance of its economic future. The foregoing, I feel could be brought about by the abolishment of tuition fees for subjects in higher education that are seen as highly beneficial to the overall UK economy.

In the above, degrees in such subjects as the sciences, engineering, health and law could become free of tuition fees and therefore more attractive to those entering university education. Along with the foregoing, "real apprenticeships" must also be returned by high skills employers with such needs.

There is also one other area which i feel very strongly could fulfil many of Britain's skill requirements, but has however been almost entirely neglected in recent years. That area is life long learning, and In that I was able in past years to attain qualifications that enabled me to progress in my mid life change of career to industrial safety.

Having left school without any qualifications whatsoever, freely available adult education through various channels completely changed my life and the lives of many others in previous decades. The foregoing, I believe must be restored, as within our already working population there is a wealth of undeveloped skills that Britain badly requires.

Joelsnan Fri 11-May-18 11:14:39

trisher we understand student nurses are on the wards, but only in blocks with no continuity, plus they extra numerous and do not get paid.
In my last job I was Head of HR for a Government Education org. Overseas. A cv came across my desk for a Dr of Nursing. Apart from her initial training and the mandatory period of required hands on nursing to retain registration this person had never worked in a hospital or healthcare environment for any extended period of time. Her doctorate was purely academic and she was considered ideal to teach nurses. She was employed but only lasted six months.

Gma29 Fri 11-May-18 11:15:15

I got a nursing degree when I was in my 40’s and qualified in 2000. We spent weeks on the wards, in fact we did 4 shifts every week (and our degree ran 48 weeks a year). Our learning was very closely monitored & assessed by ward staff. A lot of nursing time is spent doing paperwork, there are reams of it to be completed, and much of it Government driven. Unfortunately, as time goes on, the number of qualified nurses on each ward seems to get lower, and with much of the paperwork having to be done by the qualified staff, it’s a nightmare. Once you factor in the time that has to be spent with social workers, liaising about home care etc, I found that much of the shift was “spoken for”. Far from ideal, but I was never just sat down!

Joelsnan Fri 11-May-18 11:19:36

Agree Grandad1943
Trouble is how do you get potiticians and academia to acknowledge this need and adapt. It's like trying to change the course of an iceberg.

ajanela Fri 11-May-18 11:26:01

I think the bursaries for training nurses should be reinstated. Nurses need to be highly trained as they are taking on many of the role of doctors. Also they have to spend 300+ hours a year working with trained nurses, very much as we did in the 60's. Much of the work we did then is now done by Health Care workers, who can also go through different levels of training and are very good carers.

Joelsnan Fri 11-May-18 11:29:30

I am currently undergoing chemo for BC and chat with the nurses giving me the chemo.
I am shocked how the profession is being downgraded with many degree route nurses basically being administrators and health care assistants undertaking examinations and procedures that amazed me having trained in the late 60s early 70s.
These HCAs are obviously being paid much less for the work that would previously only be the domain of the SRN.
I wonder if this is why bursaries have been removed to encourage more prospective nurses away from uni and become HCAs

annodomini Fri 11-May-18 11:33:24

Adult and continuing education has been treated as a poor relation by successive governments and the parlous state of the Open University must be causing Harold Wilson to rotate in his grave.It has been a lifeline for several generations of mature students, creating opportunities and satisfaction in life and in employment. Now the OU is being starved of finance and courses are astronomically expensive unless the student is being sponsored by an employer or has somehow managed to get a grant.

Blinko Fri 11-May-18 11:35:19

One of the unforeseen consequences of the current 'university for everyone' approach is surely the kerfuffle over student loans. When only 5% of the population went to university, tuition and even grants were affordable from the exchequer. When 50% of school leavers attend uni. then clearly affordability becomes an issue.

Let's have an expansion in the provision of good quality apprenticeships across all sectors of industry. This would meet the needs of the country for trained and skilled employees and also the aspirations of that 80% of the population who aren't necessarily academically inclined and/or who are looking for good quality paid employment.

Joelsnan Fri 11-May-18 11:38:26

We seem to have lost the true ideal that the best countries are the well educated ones. Education like many other social initiatives has to be income generating and as such loses its core intent.
Lifelong learning and Adult learning certainly guided me through my working life and career changes.

Grandad1943 Fri 11-May-18 12:15:53

Quote Joelsnan [ AgreeGrandad1943. Trouble is how do you get potiticians and academia to acknowledge this need and adapt. It's like trying to change the course of an iceberg.] End Quote

That Joelsnan is the very big question. However, I very strongly feel that the course of the "education iceberg" has to be brought about if this country is to have any real economic future.

I believe that the abolition of tuition fees for degree subjects that are seen as "beneficial to the overall UK economy" would be affordable to the treasury.

Real apprenticeships, could be once again brought about under new legislation. Many companies would undoubtedly try to resist such legislation, but if those organisations require high skills to maintain their business into the future, then they must I believe pay that cost of training and not rely on overseas recruitment.

Restoring Lifelong learning is a very big must I feel. The trade unions at present do carry out that role free of cost to existing members and in that run some great educational courses. Employers could be encouraged to assist employees in that learning by way of tax relief provided that proof is forthcoming that employees are given access to "quality education and training".

Let's have an end to training and education meaning that some apprenticeships are no more than someone learning to pour and serve a cup of coffee.

If there has to be a small rise in taxation to pay for all the above, then for me and I am sure many others that would be a small price to pay for the increased security of the long term UK economy.

Perhaps that would be the true cost of Brexit also

gillybob Fri 11-May-18 12:20:50

Real apprenticeships, could be once again brought about under new legislation. Many companies would undoubtedly try to resist such legislation

I would be interested to learn what a “real” apprentiship would entail Grandad1943 and what this “new legislation” would be that we employers would try to resist?

varian Fri 11-May-18 12:21:28

Under controversial new proposals, £50 million is to be pumped into creating more places at selective state schools in a move that ministers said will give parents more choice. But school leaders criticised the decision, saying they were "disappointed" that the Government was spending "scarce funding" on expanding grammars.

Grammars that want to take on more pupils will have to submit plans setting out what action they will take to boost the numbers of disadvantaged pupils they admit - similar to the access agreements signed by universities that want to charge £9,250 tuition fees.

Schools - which select pupils based on academic ability - will also have to show proof of a need for extra places in their area. There are 163 grammar schools in England and, if all were given an equal share of the £50 million pot (which will be available in the 2018/19 academic year), they would receive just over £300,000 each.

How will this help to increase the number of apprenticeships and train the skilled workforce Britain needs?

Gerispringer Fri 11-May-18 12:27:31

Trouble is we haven’t valued technical education and successive governments haven’t invested in it. It’s cheaper to teach a class of kids business studies than it it to teach engineering or craft subjects. Schools are now cutting these very subjects as they aren’t being funded. Instead this government is putting money into free schools and grammar schools. Maybe when the supply of builders and plumbers from places like Poland dries up the government might wake up and invest in British youngsters.

Ilovecheese Fri 11-May-18 13:15:31

We also need to remember that jobs are going to change over time as artificial intelligence is used more and more. I don't think training should be solely focused on one particular industry, as that industry could well not exist in a decade or two. Young people should be taught to be flexible, so that their skills can be transferred.

One advantage of a university education is that it teaches the students to think, and problem solve. These are the skills that are going to be needed in the future.

Just think of some of the jobs that have disappeared: skilled printers, television repair, electrical goods repair. How much longer are we going to have shop assistants? With self service tills becoming more and more prevalent.

Maybe not all children are academic, but they all have talents which can be put to more than one use.

As more and more jobs can be done by robots and drones, maybe the best education we can give our young people is how to use their spare time productively.

I know that we still need builders and plumbers, but we are going to need less, think how many fewer builders are needed to build a house now that machines are doing the heavy lifting and so many components arrive on site already put together.

We have to be training our young people to cope in the future.

mabon1 Fri 11-May-18 13:21:21

couldn't agree more

DotMH1901 Fri 11-May-18 13:25:49

JoelsNan - agree completely with you - I have long argued that we need a return to learning based nursing rather than University led nursing. Not everyone who would love a career as a nurse is academically minded, and we read all the time about patients being neglected and mistreated whilst in hospital - having the SEN role back will go a long way to removing this. We should value our nurses and make sure they get paid a decent salary.

Juggernaut Fri 11-May-18 13:26:21

The vast majority of Grammar School students are destined for Acadaemia, so how this cash will 'help to increase the number of apprenticeships and train the skilled workforce Britain needs' is not really a question for consideration.
Putting it bluntly, most apprenticeships are not taken by Grammar School students.
My DS went to a Grammar School, then spent six years qualifying as a Solicitor, involving a Law Degree (three years), a Legal Practice Certificate (one year), and a Training Contract (two years). Then he started at the bottom of the ladder, and only now, at the age of thirty one, is he reaping the benefits of all his hard work and study.
I agree that more money should be put into apprenticeships for those young people for whom that would be beneficial, but apprenticeships have their place alongside the more academic subjects.

Gma29 Fri 11-May-18 13:31:35

@Joelsnan I have a friend who has nursed all her life, and she said that the HCA’s on her ward can now do so many extra training days/courses, there are loads of things they do now that were once the preserve of the qualified staff. Of course, they are cheaper to employ. She says that if she were considering entering the profession now, she doubts she would bother to train with all the debt etc she would accrue. One thing that annoyed and concerned us both, is the trend for the HCA to carry out the task, and the qualified nurse has to sign it off and be responsible. I was sorry to hear you are unwell, and hope all goes well for you.

varian Fri 11-May-18 13:32:04

Exactly - the last thing we need is more grammar school places to cream off the local comprehensives.

I am glad your son did so well at grammar school but I think you will find that many ex-comprehensive school pupils also achieve first class academic results and professional careers.

varian Fri 11-May-18 13:33:02

That was in response to *Juggernaut"

railman Fri 11-May-18 13:41:11

The Government's £50 million for "extra grammar school places" is just a cover to open new school premises - thus reviving their manifesto commitment. Any extension to existing schools can be made up to 10 miles away, which in turn will cause an increase in house prices, and develop ever more divisions in society.

The less said about 'free schools' and 'religious schools' the better.

Day6 Fri 11-May-18 13:47:09

In answer to the question above, no, I don't think it does. But I don't think our education system is guiding young peaople well either, especially in terms of career advice and 'staying on at school." Bums on seats mean more money for schools so the least academic are flattered to be asked to stay on.

Post 16 education is woefully lacking. Not all kids are academic but they are forced through hoops to study for examinations they are likely to fail.It would be a much better use of their time to sort kids according to ability at 14. I know people scream that would be segregation, (a la secondary modern schools of old) but do we want the best for all children or a system that fails many but satisfies the politically correct who favour 'mainstream' a system with more holes in it than a colander? Sadly there is not much diversity with 'mainstream' one size fits all - but who cares as long as it's right-on and all are equal, even when they patently are NOT?

If I had power I'd ensure there were many more well funded, well organised, prestigious vocational courses open to students from an early age. Kids need practical skills too. We also need a well funded and rigorous apprenticeship programme for 16 year olds. Most go on to pointless further education in school because there are so few options for them at 16, especially if they have very few decent GCSEs. Keeping them off the streets and in post 16 education and ensuring numbers are up in schools (because headcounts matter and are lucrative) seems to be the name of the game.

So many students feel that University is a right too, and just like schools, Unis offer foundation courses galore to allow entry for the less academic or those who've failed in school. Bums on seats again. Money is at the root of it all. So many cannot use their degrees after graduation. The country is swamped with inexperienced and (unfortunately) not too bright graduates. A degree doesn't have the same status any longer or open doors or guarantee a well paid career because they are now common place. Employers are aware of this.

Well funded apprenticeships or vocational courses (in depth ones with status at completion) are the way forward imo.

Nanabilly Fri 11-May-18 13:49:36

Not read all the posts yet but just wanted to say something to hildajenni.
I know a lady who has sons who have special needs ,all of them really struggled with school , more so they could not deal with the social side of it at all .So she home schooled them and then she supported them through college and then through university and now all of them hold really good jobs and one is married and a father. So don't despair

railman Fri 11-May-18 13:50:27

ILovecheese - I liked your suggestion that:

One advantage of a university education is that it teaches the students to think, and problem solve.

Having had the opportunity to work with and train graduates, and some undergraduates, I'm not sure I believe that the university experience teaches student to think. Problem solving skills are much more likely to be gained in a traditional apprenticeship background.

It may be what the university and the rest of us public tend to think happens, but many thousands of traditional engineering apprentices are equally able to "do problem solving", and have real world experience of its application.

Our society needs a broad education system - covering both academic and practical applications of topics being studied.

railman Fri 11-May-18 13:54:55

Day6 - I agree with many of your points.

Not so sure about the 'bums on seats' brining in more revenue - though it clearly helps to avoid the 'NEETS' statistics provided by the ONS looking worse.

My grandson's experience in some aspects of his 16 to 18 teaching left a lot to be desired, although he, thankfully has been successful in spite of, rather than as a result of post-16 education curriculum.