Give us the tools…
Britain’s economic recovery depends upon one factor above all others: the skill of its workforce. The remedy will not come from any government programme, but from the ingenuity and drive of the British people. As Reihan Salam argues on page 14, these were the qualities that built an empire. They steered us to recovery in the 1980s. They are what is needed now.
Yet, as employers readily attest, good people are disturbingly hard to find. Billions of pounds have been spent by successive governments to recifty this problem, but, as David Willetts and Pete Waterman observe on page 12, the results have been mixed. University education has been radically expanded, but too often via degrees which serve neither students nor society.
To mis-sell higher education to thousands of young people is not just a human scandal, but an economic one too. More and more young people are slipping out of work, out of training and off the labour map. As Peter Hoskin says on page 6, Britain has addressed its skills shortage by shipping in immigrant workers. So it is possible to paper over the skills problem in Britain. But it is not excusable.
In this supplement, kindly sponsored by BAE Systems, we look at what is to be done. Whether it is reforming education or welfare, this is a debate that involves some of the most fundamental questions facing the country today.
Editor Peter Hoskin Design Kuchar Swara Cover and illustrations Kyle T. Webster Cartoons Nick Downes and Hunter
Supplied free with the 5 February 2011 edition of The Spectator www.spectator.co.uk The Spectator (1828) Ltd, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, Tel: 020 7961 0200, Fax: 020 7961 0250 For advertising queries, email: sarnold@ pressholdings.com
Skilled Britons are migrating abroad
A boom for whom?
‘There are plenty of jobs to go around’
Q&A with Mark Lovell
Adult education isn’t working
The right lessons
‘Why can’t I get the workers I need?’
Forget Mandarin, learn Latin
Let’s get our hands dirty
Skills Barometer 15
in association with BAE systems | 5 February 2011 | britain’s skills crisis