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23 May 2013


David Eldon

Thank you Andrew. I thought I had responded to this already, but it seems to have gone missing. I think your last paragraph covers a couple of important topics that I could have put in the Blog, but it would have then been too long.
From what one reads of university life and binge drinking in the UK, it is surprising that graduates come out with any great sense of achievement, better prepared for the world, or self-esteem. But I realise this is a generalisation and that there is at least a core body of graduates who take it seriously and who do ALL the right things. But point taken about the value of the BA degree, earlier in your comments.
The other point you make about apprenticeships is also valid. It is heartening in many ways to see some respected leading businessmen (and a couple of bankers!) getting involved in these schemes. So, on this subject the last word goes to Sir Alex Ferguson (yes THE Alex Ferguson), who wrote: QUOTE
Apprenticeships were a comprehensive education which taught young people how to be part of a workforce. They instilled the values of excellence and quality in the workplace and served British industry well throughout the years. I'm very encouraged to see the current revival and to see Apprenticeships take their rightful place as a valid education and career choice that can lead to better things.UNQUOTE

Andrew W

A good point. As the product of a good UK University and with a good job to boot, it may be equally disingenuous for me to agree with it. Certainly 10 - 15 years ago a reasonable BA was a requirement for an interview, but since moving to Denmark I have seen the opposite extreme to the 'on the job' argument.

Here people take one of two routes, and this is, I understand, similar to the German system. You either leave school somewhere between 16 and 19 and become an apprentice of some sort - aspiring architects may become carpenters for example - or you go onto University.

The problem with the University route, partly linked to the Danish welfare system in which those in education receive high grants and can switch courses as often as they like, is that many people don't end up graduating until they are into their mid 30's, if at all. Further the overall culture amongst 'academics,' as they are referred to, is that the more they study, the cleverer they get. They end up spending vast swathes of their lives learning stuff and never actually getting round to using it!

The view of the UK university system from here is that:

1) 3 years is far too short for a Bachelor's degree

2) Bachelor's degrees are useless anyway, you need at least one Master's and preferably more, which will take you 7 - 10 years to acquire.

The (old) UK system of going to Uni to prove that you can at least stay sober enough to learn enough over 3 years to get a first degree, and then get unleashed onto the job market, is a great deal more flexible. But in the current job market, the apprentice-style education looks pretty attractive.

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