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Euan Blair’s in-work degrees show up Britain’s failing university system - by Oscar Williams-Grutt

Headline debate over UK economic policy should not blind us to the longer-term strategic shortcomings which have impeded the nation's historic growth rate for generations - namely the country's abysmal record in relation to apprenticeships and practical skills-based training.

To amplify the point we include an article from the Telegraph on the pioneering work which Euan Blair’s apprenticeship start-up, Multiverse, is undertaking to address the skills shortage by enabling students to earn while they learn at companies as distinguished as Rolls Royce and MasterCard, two of its partners.

“Speak to any chief executive and they will tell you the UK is suffering from a chronic skills shortage." argues the Telegraph's Assistant Business Editor.

"Coverage has largely focused on professions such as nursing or the hospitality sector, where the blame is pinned on Brexit. But skills gaps persist across the economy.

A Department for Education skills survey in 2019 found manufacturers were struggling to fill one in three jobs “because of applicants lacking the appropriate skills, qualifications or experience”.

The fast-growing tech sector also complains of a chronic lack of candidates who are up to scratch, while the businesses trying to drive decarbonisation and renewable energy – another future-facing industry – are suffering from an “acute” skills shortage, according to a recent report by the Green Alliance.”

And why is this?

“The problem is partly caused by the fact that not enough people are picking up new skills during their careers. But too many recent school and university leavers are simply unprepared for the world of work as it is today.”

The article’s conclusions on the state of British Education are stark and damning:

“The current education system is a mishmash of Victorian schooling, designed for an economy of smokestack factories, and Enlightenment-era universities, which are more focused on expanding the sum of human knowledge than preparing students for a career.”

Much of the blame can be placed on the shoulders of Blair Senior:

“The Labour prime minister’s aim may have been admirable: to create a high-skill economy. But his enrolment targets have nothing to say on the quality of education received.

Euan Blair made this point in a side swipe at his father, writing this week: “Universities and undergraduate degrees still dominate the thinking of many ambitious parents… However, with no correlation between academics and job performance, and an increasing number of the world’s top employers dropping degree requirements entirely, it is clear this perception better reflects historic status rather than inherent value.”

On thing we should all agree:

“Overhauling our education system to make it fit for the modern economy is an investment in our future and must be a priority. Euan Blair can’t do it all alone.”

Something else Mrs Truss and her government will be judged on.

The full article can be read below with a link to the original here:

Article by Assistant Business Editor for the Telegraph - Euan Blair’s in-work degrees show
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CREDIT: Mark Thomas/Shutterstock

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