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Generation ex

Letters

Thank you for your comment Fees or not, education must fit the job market (NCE last week). I am of that generation which could become qualified by a long apprenticeship with day-release and evening classes.

In the 1950s and early 1960s we could join a company as a 'trainee'. We earned a pittance, worked as a draughtsman and went to college one day a week plus two evenings.

The training took seven years if you started at ONC level but you gradually earned more and your training was more or less in step with the college. By the time you were on the HNC you were a useful member of the office as a 'designer-detailer'.

At the end I passed the Structural's Part 3 and became a chartered engineer. I had no debt - if you discount the one I have always owed to my parents. It was vocational training and not education. Our 'education' was out in society - guided by colleagues, Institution activities and daily events.

All this came to an end when the ICE closed its doors to the HNC route to membership around 1973. Everybody had to have a degree! Did the Engineering Council and politicians impose this, or was it the start of a system that turned its back on the practical person who could do 85% of the work, preferring instead to rely on brainpower for everything?

Bob Wilson, kirklands16@talk21. com

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