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Now it seems everybody goes to University

For much of the postwar period it was possible to move from (in the UK exam system for 16 year olds) GCSE-level education into professional jobs—engineer, banker and so on—through further study but without having to go to university for three years. 

The narrowing of that route and the creation of a kind of graduate/non-graduate apartheid has surely helped to diminish occupational mobility. And who do you think create that 
UK politicians, one of Tony Blair' mantras was Education Education.  

What is terrifying for us all about politicians is how very ordinary they are.

Educsationis a complex mine field and one should not be dogmatic. But the knowledge economy still needs well-motivated technicians and cleaners. 

Too much of the decision-making here has been taken by people looking down from the academic pinnacle (God save us from those all knowing academics) rather than looking up with some understanding of how non-academic post-school training, and personal motivation, works.

As Maurice Glasman has pointed out there is a historic gulf between professions and trades—becoming an accountant is dependent on acquiring a set of skills and standards of behaviour, becoming a builder is not. 

We require a trickle down of professional-type standards to more ordinary jobs rather than regarding university degrees as the only path to well paid and respected employment.

Too many of the young people who should have been starting their working lives developing ‘intermediate’ and technical skills have been encouraged to take up sometimes low-grade university courses (reinforcing the historic bias against the vocational). The result is a huge hole in the British skill base which has been partly filled by skilled workers from abroad, who appear to have no qualms of getting their hands dirty -  most notably in the construction industry. 

Repairing this is a national priority.

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