IET
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Topic Title: Who Wants to be an Engineer?
Topic Summary:
Created On: 29 August 2013 04:38 PM
Status: Read Only
Linear : Threading : Single : Branch
<< 1 2 Previous Last unread
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
 15 September 2013 03:24 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: jencam
A high proportion of what universities teach can be taught online.

It is nowadays, and by the universities as well.
Why pay thousands for something you can get for free?

One of course to gain the certificate which is issued by the university and two to have the social interaction with other like minded people. Also Youtube is not free, but I take your point, and if for example all the lecturers were then out of work and the universities were shut down and the education was run via Youtube then the costs would simply move elsewhere. I think there needs to be the correct balance between educational establishment learning/testing and home/work/life based learning and there is not as of yet a one size fits all. I do think university costs are high but in reality this is because the government is transferring the cost of pensions to the students by the back door. A large proportion of university/college costs are pensions and by cutting subsidies it both reduces the governments costs and means the students pay more of them.

I use both online and university study and see and use the benefits of both, but I do think university costs are far too high and the universities and government are taking the p*$s.

Regards.
 15 September 2013 03:27 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: Zuiko
What a sterile narrow-minded society we would live in if the only available options at higher education were "professional" subjects.

I think we do increasingly live in such a world and it is our challenge to change it.

Regards.
 15 September 2013 03:41 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Originally posted by: westonpa
I do think university costs are high but in reality this is because the government is transferring the cost of pensions to the students by the back door. A large proportion of university/college costs are pensions and by cutting subsidies it both reduces the governments costs and means the students pay more of them.

I use both online and university study and see and use the benefits of both, but I do think university costs are far too high and the universities and government are taking the p*$s.


You may well be correct here...

Superficially there is plenty of consumer choice in higher education but for some reason competition is not driving down costs to consumers. An overwhelming number of universities are charging as much as they can for tuition and higher education looks more like a cartel than a free market. An intelligent person should question exactly what they are getting for their money, where it is going, and whether cheaper alternatives exist. One speculated theory for charging full fees is fear and image in that if a degree course is cheap then employers might disfavour it or assume that the students are paupers and cheapskates. The 'excess' money then tops up the pension pot. Economists know that certain things don't sell if they are too cheap!

The door is now wide open for foreign competition in higher education charging lower tuition fees. This is something I have previously discussed here.
 15 September 2013 04:54 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: jencam
Superficially there is plenty of consumer choice in higher education but for some reason competition is not driving down costs to consumers. An overwhelming number of universities are charging as much as they can for tuition and higher education looks more like a cartel than a free market.

You are correct, it is a free market in name only. Obviously universities expanded like there was no tommorrow and from my experience of recent study they expanded their administration teams quite considerably. Salaries also increased.
An intelligent person should question exactly what they are getting for their money, where it is going, and whether cheaper alternatives exist.

Well from a point of view of fees, let's say, increasing from £3k to between £6-£9k the student is not getting any more for their money, same tutors, facilities, etc. So it's rather like the increasing utility and council tax costs, more money for the same provisions. So where is it all going? Well a lot of it is going into pensions because that was/is the timebomb area and which the government had to solve. The issue with all of this is that successive governments, and even to this day, still think the solutions are to increase debts and in most cases kick the problem further down the road. I really do not see how having young students start out with say £50k of government debt and then pay very high prices for their houses is actually going to help matters in the longer term. With regards to learning, cheaper alternatives do exist, online/books etc., as you say, but their certificates if issued do not carry the same weight as those given by say Oxford, UCL, Swansea, etc., University. If graduates get the jobs after then all will be more or less ok and will continue. We also now have this situation whereby when enough people have a qualification then when competing for a job we need that qualification just to keep up, and so we are more or less forced to get it....that means the seller can keep their costs high.
One speculated theory for charging full fees is fear and image in that if a degree course is cheap then employers might disfavour it or assume that the students are paupers and cheapskates.

There is a lot of truth in that and it will be part of the equation.
The door is now wide open for foreign competition in higher education charging lower tuition fees. This is something I have previously discussed here.

For example I know one top ranking Italian University who are changing their teaching to English and so now it's easier for our students to study there. The competition will come and we then ask ourselves how the government will cover the pension costs.....they may then have to do that old fashioned thing and raise income tax or national insurance. But anyway that will be when someone picks that ball up which is now further down the road.

Regards.
 16 September 2013 01:50 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



MAWilson

Posts: 48
Joined: 22 February 2006

supe

The issue with engineering and pay I think has to do with its standing in industry as a support function. It is evident when a company is downsizing for financial reasons or due to optimisation, the Engineering department is usually the first point of call from my experience. It is hard to put a figure on the value of Engineering though considered important than let's say, an operator who is required for whatever manufacturing process to be completed or an Accountant which you need to remain in good terms with Her Majesty's Customs & Revenue Department and who works magic with the balance sheet which affects stock price/company value.

An example is when I had my first job as an Engineer, me & another colleague was put in a group to look at Efficiency in plant operations for cost savings. We managed to put together some changes which would give a cost savings on electricity usage of hundreds of thousands of pounds which would pay back in a year or less. You also do things like optimising maintenance procedures to ensure plant is not out of service for extended periods etc...

The point I'm making with this example is that these cost savings do not translate in the board rooms well enough for there to be a clear bottom line argument of what value do you put in Engineering. We were out of normal duties for that purpose and only found these savings on months of work and analysis. How do you quantify an Engineers time and effort and the business payback. It's only till the level of Engineering falls that this becomes apparent.
 16 September 2013 03:45 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

As one director once said to me 'engineering is a neccessary evil' but at least he understood it was neccessary.

An engineers time can be quantified as can lost opportunity costs but if a company wants to cut back then it does not then usually invest 'large' amounts of resources to work out all the costs.

In my experience cut backs tend to be in the areas of training, health and safety, less investment, overtime reductions, etc., before they get to engineering. If however production machinery is not running then less operators and engineers are required. In this recession overall employee retention has been quite reasonable, considering, and it has been more the younger people who have suffered. Overall of course and not in every detail.

Regards.
 16 September 2013 04:37 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



CelticHeathen

Posts: 46
Joined: 10 December 2012

Originally posted by: westonpa

The problem is however that there is not a lot to seperate the political parties and in essence they have all been promising everything to people over the last 60 years on a basis you can have it today and pay for it in the future. Greece is a prime example and where the promises were even wilder. Yet the people voted in these politicians. But the same politicians then go onto some other gravy train after, be that lordships and/or else some high paid job in a company associated with public sector work etc. Failure or poor service is rewarded or else not sanctioned.



The education mistake was to mislead most of the young people they should have a degree in order to get a good job, because in reality also the NVQ skilled, low skilled and non skilled workers are vital for the economy.....and should be fairly paid for their work and given due respect. I think also a whole lot of really poor careers advice was/is given at schools and by those with a vested interest in keeping as many children as possible in the education system to maintain their own jobs.



At lot of the University costs nowadays likely goes to covering the pensions, albeit I am not saying people are not worth it.



Regards.


I take your point, but when we have 1M under 25's unemployed and not in training, I just wonder how high that figure would be, had Bliar (sic) not attempted - and almost succeeded in - the lunacy of getting 50% of school leavers into University.

One problem that it created was that it made a lot of young, impressionable people think they were (academically speaking) better than they really were and/or given them a sense of entitlement (indeed, many from well-off families believed they were buying their degree and would kick off if/when they didn't get the grades they felt they deserved). For them, University was a mythical holy grail, whereby they expected the world to be their oyster... the rude awakening would come upon graduation, when their degrees were often deemed by employers to be worthless pieces of paper.

Scotland has done the right thing. Education is a right, not a privilege, for those who are good enough. The ability to learn must always supersede the ability to pay, in a meritocracy.

The fact that the majority of Graduates will never repay the debts they have been burdened with is a sad, disgraceful indictment on the last 3 governments, every one MP of whom benefitted from free education.
 16 September 2013 06:49 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

It may have been lower Celtic because instead some of those young people may have instead taken lower skilled jobs that migrants took instead. If a person thinks they are entitled to a degree and they are good enough when their real vocation should be a 'lower skilled' job then they are often going to look for the wrong type of work and/or else may think they are too good for the lower skilled work. And I am not against migrants either. To function as a country we need to cover the whole range of jobs from low to high skilled and all are important and should be respected and paid fairly.

It's important to get good careers advice and which takes into account what the person is good at in reality. This does not mean we will get it correct each and every time because some people are late starters so to speak, but we should also be educating young people that the lower skilled jobs are also important and to be respected etc.

Regards.
 22 September 2013 01:17 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Originally posted by: westonpa
It may have been lower Celtic because instead some of those young people may have instead taken lower skilled jobs that migrants took instead. If a person thinks they are entitled to a degree and they are good enough when their real vocation should be a 'lower skilled' job then they are often going to look for the wrong type of work and/or else may think they are too good for the lower skilled work. And I am not against migrants either. To function as a country we need to cover the whole range of jobs from low to high skilled and all are important and should be respected and paid fairly.


I have been in correspondence with an economist who thinks that Britain actually has an overeducated and overqualified population but nobody will admit it. He made certain references to the situation the early 1980s when there were millions of unemployed people out there with little in the way of skills and qualifications who were looking for low skilled jobs because they knew that was all they were suitable for, then he made references to the unemployed graduates and how they are reluctant to take menial and low skilled jobs because they think it is beneath them or because they have studied hard and expect better.

His solution is to bring back the 11 plus exam; grammar schools and secondary moderns; and replace the GCSE with O Levels and CSEs under a system where a CSE is almost a dead end qualification that doesn't lead onto anything else except a handful of vocational courses like car valeting or hairdressing. By introducing an exam at the age of 11 that effectively determines an individual's future of the potential for a professional career or whether they are destined for the working class will cut down on the number of youngsters getting degrees and therefore will show them their true place in society. It will also cut down on the number of foreigners coming to Britain for low skilled jobs. The economist also thinks that the decline of low skilled jobs has been exaggerated, and to a certain degree, reversed by a well off baby boomer generation with spare cash to spend on services.

If you didn't already know, the real purpose of the 11 plus was to help keep salaries of professional and qualified people high.

I queried certain aspects of his proposals including what happens to home educated children who do not take an 11 plus exam, or what is to stop people from taking O Levels out of school as a private candidate. Unfortunately, the economist didn't know enough about these topics to be able to come up with an explanation.

I also raised questions about the types of degrees and what graduates wanted them for. It's a bit politically incorrect to say that degrees are unequal in the job market but it's the truth. I can see a big difference between a graduate in a subject like medicine or engineering who studied because they wanted a career in these fields, and a graduate who took a 'fun' subject on the vague basis that it opens doors or improves prospects but had no idea of what career they wanted. Unfortunately the media can't.
Statistics

See Also:



FuseTalk Standard Edition v3.2 - © 1999-2014 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.