Students won’t fill the skills gap

Reading George Pitcher’s article (MW July 25) on the virtues of degree courses over vocational training, I was disappointed by the subjectivity of his dismissal of an Institute of Directors (IoD) report. Does he really believe 22-year-old graduates will feel that an apprenticeship in plumbing is the natural next stage in their careers?

If he had interviewed as many business studies graduates as I have, aspiring for a marketing job but earning £8,000 a year as a shop assistant, then he might, as I do, wonder whether they would be better off as self-employed plumbers, builders, joiners or electricians, earning three or four times as much.

The assertion that we should bring in less educationally fortunate immigrants – who already run our transport, health and catering services – misses the point that what we actually need is what the IoD report is arguing for: a balanced workforce with proper training and apprenticeships for blue-collar workers. After all, anyone who has ever tried to get a quality tradesman to work on their own home will know that they are hard to find and usually in their 50s or 60s. In George Pitcher’s future world, such people will no longer exist!

Come on George, admit it – Ruth Lea’s assertion that we need more plumbers and fewer media studies graduates was just too hard to swallow!

Nigel Brook

Managing director

Gaskell

Accrington

Lancashire

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