LETTER: We’re heading for a massive skills shortage

IT is C.G. Eastwood (December 31st) who appears to be “ignoring ... the true state of things”, along with the vast majority of our politicians.

The UK no longer has the manufacturing base it once did and those industries we do have often require people to have an initial qualification and to continue to gain qualifications throughout their working life.

If they cannot afford to go to university or even college, how are they to do that?

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The inevitable result will be a massive skills shortage and from where then will those skills come? Abroad of course.

This is a policy which saw its beginning with Margaret Thatcher in concert with organisations such as the CBI and was enthusiastically embraced by ‘New’ Labour (or Tory-lite, as I call them).

They also miss the point regarding the degrees that they criticise.

Any properly validated degree programme – whether law, sociology, or Outer Mongolian basket-weaving - teaches transferrable skills and to observe that, one only has to look at the number of law students who do not go into the law, but do well in their chosen field.

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The same can be said of students from many academic disciplines.

We should also look further down the educational chain for the state of education and students generally.

For example, as a college lecturer in the late 1990s to the early 2000s, the majority of the students - straight out of secondary school - I was expected to teach did not know what a footnote was or the purpose of a book’s index (sometimes even the contents page!)

They would also write – in an assessed piece of work – phrases such as ‘could of’ and ‘would of’ instead of ‘could have’ and ‘would have’.