I know, I surprised myself... I had to have a little lie down after I said it!It seems that plans for a new University Technical College in the Brompton area are set to go through with support from the Baker Dearing trust. It will have 600 places and open to 14-19 year old students with specialities in Engineering and Construction, which makes sense bearing in mind the Engineering pedigree in Brompton.
Whilst offering traditional subjects like Maths, Science etc... and GCSE's the College will also provide proper vocational training in Engineering and Construction with some of the teachers being professionals from industry as well as traditional teachers. Post 16 they can either continue studies or be offered apprenticeship placements to continue their trades! This sort of education would be invaluable to youngsters especially as there is a growing shortage of Plumbers, electricians and Carpenters in the building trade and a tradesman can get quite a good wage.
Former education minister Lord Baker, who is a strong advocate of this sort of college and who coordinates the Baker-Dearing trust and who puts forward bids to the Ministry of Education, has visited Medway and met Cllr Les Wicks (portfolio holder for education) and said that a UTC in Medway would get "Strong support" for its proposal. This all sounds amazing and at the time of writing I can think of no draw backs to this project. It would give teenagers a trade and skills that will actually get them into a real job at the end of it and useful tools for later life and I think the Council should be fully supported in its endeavour as this is could be a really good thing for the teenagers in our education system and for a better Britain if the scheme catches on.
One of the ways to beat the recession is by construction and industry. Britain was once a global hub of construction of Cars, Aeroplanes and Ships and it could be again but the only way this can be done is with trained and engaged young folk who want to use skills to do so.
On a Local level, Medway is in serious need of regeneration. Everywhere you look the towns show signs of aging, decay and residents cannot afford house repairs as the small amount of sparks, chippies and plumbers can set their own prices as there is little competition.
A fresh infusion of young engineers and apprentices with the Coalition's tax breaks and encouragement for startup businesses will encourage more new businesses and skilled workers and therefore more competition driving prices down and perhaps the people of Medway can improve their homes and the civic facilities.
Another upcoming opportunity is IF Lodge hill and even Boris Island are constructed they're going to need skilled workers and artisans. If there is a large group of locals able to fill that gap and with local construction companies able to bid for contracts it can only mean greater prosperity for the Towns.
University can be a real waste of time and money. You can be better off not going.
There I've said it.
A lot of people will try to lead you to believe that University is the be all and end all of education and that if you go to University you are set for life.
A lot of Vocational degrees like Law, Medicine, Chemistry etc will indeed open doors and can be a building block for the future.
BUT if you're doing an arts degree you can forget it.
I've got a good solid 2.1 History degree and a post graduate in Social history specialising in German Military engagements 1939-45 with specific reference to the Luftwaffe (air force) its' structure, operations etc - For some reason I'm not Dan Snow.I've work colleagues who have Oxbridge degrees that mean nothing too.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but employers are more picky about who they employ and degree holders are ten a penny and you should be aware that a degree does not guarantee an amazing future. The only thing University guarantees is debt.
Two quick disclaimers though;
- University was an awesome experience and I had a lot of fun, met some really great people and friends (including my wife). I do think people should go.
- Also - I know that critics of the Liberal Democrats and Coalition will say that the debt level has gone up because of our policies and I'd say - Yeah, you're right. I'd also point out that had I signed the pledge I would not have broken it and that now debt repayment is ALOT easier thanks to us.