Opinion: Apprenticeships: Keeping up with the Schmidts | The Economist – John Gelmini

Dr Alf poses an excellent question about UK apprenticeships and jobs growth in relation to the Economist article.

The question of apprenticeships is secondary to the real problem which is the lack of real export led growth in the UK economy versus a manufactured housing boom which will run out of steam once the Financial Conduct Authority‘s new rules choke off lending.

Even after all the braying and talk of the “plan working”, our biggest export market is still the Irish Republic and Middle Eastern Emirs, who are customers of BAE Defence Systems.

It is also secondary to the three “Elephants in the room” which are:

1. Unemployability of UK school leavers,
2. Lack of UK worker and boss productivity and
3. Lack of comprehension on the part of our ruling classes of just how far behind our Far Eastern and MINT competitors we still are.


The Coalition’s claim to have created a million new jobs is bogus because most of these are “self employment”, namely people registering companies at Companies House Cardiff but not necessarily trading or making any money.
Then, there are those who have had  their  employment switched from local authorities (public sector),to outsourcers (private sector), plus the million plus people who have been removed from the dole by sanctions or recategorization into employed status by ATOS ORIGIN, whose contract is not going to be renewed.
Mark Carney, the Governor of The Bank of England put it more delicately to a House of Commons select committee, when he said that “In Canada, I was more comfortable with the numbers”. This was when he was asked about Government claims about GDP numbers and the veracity of the statistics put forth by the ONS.

Without consistent 3% plus real economic growth, unemployment will not fall and without a better educated workforce and a lot more productivity. No apprenticeships, on the German or any other model are sustainable or can be created in the first place.

The benchmark for the UK has to be the most dynamic countries in the world, using a composite benchmarking grid not the pretence that the UK can adopt the German apprenticeship scheme without the population and the business community taking on the need for a Mittelstand, trade schools for the less academically inclined and a number of other German characteristics which people in the UK will never have in a month of Sundays.

First though, there has to be real numbers and data to show us where we really are, and then there has to be a plan to address the situation and an acknowledgement on the part of everyone in the UK, that the world does not owe us a living, and that we are engaged in the economic equivalent of war.

Until that day, which I see no evidence of the UK ever reaching in my lifetime, the Government, big business and the populace are burying their heads in the sand, living in the past and living on borrowed time.

John Gelmini

Bank of England

Bank of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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British austerity is no model for the rest of the world – Larry Summers – FT.com

White House portrait of Lawrence Summers.

White House portrait of Lawrence Summers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a MUST-READ article by Larry Summers,  Charles W Eliot university professor at Harvard and a former US Treasury secretary. It’s published in the FT.


Brtish austerity is no model for the rest of the world – FT.com.


Personally, I agree with Larry Summers but feel that he’s been too polite by far.

For me, David Cameron’s UK Government has been reckless in stimulating demand on the back of a government guaranteed domestic property inflationary bubble. This blog has been advocating, for  some time, wider policies that addressed  skills, competitiveness and  exports.

Let me turn this to an open question:

Given the UK‘recent increase in economic growth, how should government policy be changed to broaden and deepen the growth so that it is sustainable for a longer period?

Any thoughts?

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