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Topic Title: E&T Magazine - Debate - Skills shortages in the UK are being properly addressed
Topic Summary: This house believes that skills shortages in the UK are being properly addressed
Created On: 15 November 2011 04:41 PM
Status: Read Only
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 15 November 2011 04:41 PM
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jpwilson

Posts: 63
Joined: 16 May 2007

For:
This house believes that skills shortages in the UK are being properly addressed.

Against:
This house does not believe that skills shortages in the UK are being properly addressed.
 15 November 2011 04:48 PM
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StewartTaylor

Posts: 99
Joined: 18 January 2003

This house believes that skills shortages in the UK are being properly addressed.

How, exactly?

Not just in STEM areas; our whole approach to education and training needs to be overhauled.

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 15 November 2011 05:29 PM
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DavidParr

Posts: 242
Joined: 19 April 2002

I'm quite sure that the powers that be would like to address the skill shortages, but do they know how to?

I have always believed that one reason why the engineering profession is undervalued in the UK is due to a lack of understanding of what we do by those in power! It takes quite some effort to get to grips with, and jump into, the lake of technology in which we swim (poetic eh!). So in the end, it is much easier to not bother with engineering and address things you (think you) understand.

Of course, if you don't understand something, human nature means you devalue it by default, so any subsequent attempts to address the skill shortages are weak, half-hearted and condemned to falter.

Or am I too cynical? Discuss!

-------------------------
David Parr BSc.CEng MIET
PRA
 18 November 2011 02:39 PM
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Brinklow

Posts: 88
Joined: 09 November 2001

NO:

Even the IET offer no support for education above the level for schools; see IET Education journal. The only journal I have found that covers post-16 education for electronics engineering is in the IEEE Education journal.

Recently have given evidence about the teaching of electronics (in FE colleges, apprentice schools etc)

* teaching and learning resources
What most lecturers needed (I found) was access to teaching and learning resources
that supported their specific subjects - just try searching for teaching Ohms Law, Laplace Transforms, rectification, microprocessors etc (I've tried many sites but not much supporting the teaching of electronics can be found).

* commissioned books
BTEC syllabuses are sometimes supported by commissioned books - to cover syllabus subjects, topics and learning objectives in detail; some of these are useful but are not always set out in a very user friendly teaching way.

* educational support
The IET, RAEng etc see their educational support mostly for schools, whilst this is essential post-16 is forgotten about I have to go to America for the IEEE Education journal - very well researched for teaching electronics, many topics are also appropriate for teaching other subjects (chemical engineering has been covered in the past).

Sorry these observations are not more positive but very little is being done by GOV, Institutes like IET, City & Guilds, BTEC etc to support the teaching of electronics engineering and I suspect for other subjects listening to other lecturers.

I would love to produce new teaching and learning material and help facilitate the above if given some help and funding ...

I have commented here on just electronics engineering skills but having networked with many other post-16 lecturers recently they too believe that support for teaching 'functional skills, and 'subject specific skills' is just not being properly addressed and therefore Britain is not and will not be 'fit for purpose'.

* Pity.

-------------------------
Paul H. Brinklow,
Chartered Electronic and Radio Engineer,
CertEd,MA,PgDip,MSc,CEng,MIET,MCQI,FIfL.
 19 November 2011 11:22 AM
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jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Originally posted by: Brinklow
I would love to produce new teaching and learning material and help facilitate the above if given some help and funding ...


My son is also interested in something similar. Could you please send me a private message.
 26 November 2011 06:51 PM
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georgecorvin

Posts: 2
Joined: 27 January 2003

Engineering has become a complicated area of human endeavour and it takes longer than 4 years to have even a grounding in it, hence engineering education should start in the secondary school.

In Hungary, after WW2, a system of secondary technical schools were introduced to overcome skill shortages. In the UK such schools were looked down on, in Hungary the standards were high. All normal secondary school subjects were taught, together with 4-5 engineering subjects, hence one was not limited to follow the same course at university. One day was spent in the schools' well equipped workshops with 8 weeks' of industrial attachment in the summer. The normal school week was 52hrs, homework afterwards, which still left time for serious sport in clubs, many of us dreaming to make it to the Olympics.

On arrival in England in 1957, I had no difficulty working as a toolmaker, before going to college. At the time many companies run excellent student and graduate apprenticeships, with the wages paid it was affordable for them. We received pittance wages, but we have learnt a lot and we still had a great social life.
 30 November 2011 06:21 PM
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jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Originally posted by: georgecorvin
Engineering has become a complicated area of human endeavour and it takes longer than 4 years to have even a grounding in it, hence engineering education should start in the secondary school.

In Hungary, after WW2, a system of secondary technical schools were introduced to overcome skill shortages. In the UK such schools were looked down on, in Hungary the standards were high. All normal secondary school subjects were taught, together with 4-5 engineering subjects, hence one was not limited to follow the same course at university. One day was spent in the schools' well equipped workshops with 8 weeks' of industrial attachment in the summer. The normal school week was 52hrs, homework afterwards, which still left time for serious sport in clubs, many of us dreaming to make it to the Olympics.


There is a discussion about the electronics GCSE here. and whether it is valued or not compared with science and physics GCSEs.

I think it is possible to reach a consensus that engineering and technology have always been badly taught in British schools and never considered to be important subjects despite the UK having a large manufacturing and engineering heritage. There is also a very strong division between academic and practical subjects.

Primary schools generally did not teach anything about engineering or how machinery worked until after the National Curriculum was introduced. I certainly didn't learn about them at primary school during the 1970s. I suspect that the teachers had no knowledge of engineering or hard sciences and even less interest in them.

Secondary school education was divided into schools for those who passed the 11+ which taught academic subjects and pure sciences, and those which failed the 11+ which taught craft type subjects such as woodwork or domestic science. Engineering subjects which combined both academic and practical facets did not generally feature on the syllabus until after 1980.
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