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Manufacturing Mantra Part 2

05 Dec

To create an energetic and thriving manufacturing sector we will need a workforce, which is diverse in skills, experience and knowledge. This will require an education system, which is also diverse in skills experience and knowledge, which requires vocational and academic study. What we don’t need is snobbery and elitism in education, which values a degree above everything else. We need people who can do a job, not people who should be able to do a job because they have a piece of paper.

Education delivery should realistically require an element of experience. Theory only goes so far. Theory taught with experience acquired through actually doing it provides a far richer experience for the students. A teacher who has actually worked in manufacturing, business or commerce for real will add essential value for the students. The structure to deliver and support this would require some sort of cyclical approach which would mean the teacher doing a stint of working and then a stint in teaching and so on and so forth to maintain a realistic connection and an up to date understanding of both. This would be relevant for all subjects being taught which are relevant and appropriate to support real economic growth and wealth creation for us all.

Economic growth also requires that the products and services are sellable in other national markets. Our balance of payments and our ability to reduce the debt mountain range will be made easier if we sell our goods and services to the world in general. The bigger the market, the bigger the sale potential there is. Competition? Of course, more than you can imagine and is good for us. But it’s the same for every other country out there and it will always be the same.

Back to our mantra then.

Say after me –

We need an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable workforce who can design and manufacture things, which fulfil needs and wants and will deliver a user experience which people in all markets will buy.

Innovation creates greater opportunities. Look at Dyson, Apple, JCB, Pilkington and many others here in the UK or worldwide. Innovation doesn’t come out of books or out of the mouths of teachers. Innovation comes out of people’s heads.

A previous article I blogged was on helping High School student s understand how value was created. They were asked to add value to a blank sheet of A4 paper. This came as a shock to them since they were used to having things defined and structured for them. They grasped the concept fairly easily once they got going and understood what “added value” meant for them.

The system of education and societal culture change required to deliver continuous innovation is key to the future success of tour economy and our country. Competitors never stand still and those who slow down suffer badly as they fall behind. It’s always harder to catch up. Get out the blocks early, build a lead an maintain it

So the final mantra then.

Say after me –

We need an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable workforce who can design and manufacture innovative products and services, which fulfil needs and wants and will deliver a user experience which people in all markets will buy.

Repeat mantra as often as it takes for the aims to become realities. This will also require the conversion of our political class, which will be the greatest of struggles. They have been educated, for the most part, at Oxbridge and they have been indoctrinated with an anti-manufacturing viewpoint. The system for their education is elitist as it should be to churn out the brightest of people, but it should not be academically elitist to the detriment of other forms of education, which deliver other forms of skills, which are just as essential to our economy.

Germany. Japan, the USA and Italy for example, are all countries, which make things that people want to buy. Their political systems and economies differ from ours and their success in selling products and services around the world also differs. There is nothing wrong in the UK as a whole copying the nest these countries and any other for that matter, have to offer as examples of best practice.

It is to be hoped however, that the UK could very quickly become a place, which other countries would want to emulate. We have been good at sending people to third world countries to help them develop education and infrastructure etc. It would be a true measurement of success if we were being asked to send people to the established successful countries to share our expertise with tem to help them develop and grow. I know we do this at the moment to an extent but it is far from enough.

Remember –

We need an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable workforce who can design and manufacture innovative products and services, which fulfil needs and wants and will deliver a user experience which people in all markets will buy.

Part 1 was published on Friday 2 December 2011.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Education, Politics

 

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