Europe educating for the wrong jobs?

The countries closest to my heart, Holland and the UK, seem to be educating people for the wrong kind of jobs. Recent newspaper articles lament the fact that there are not enough technical students and even fewer people with a technical education to fill all those technical jobs.

In the UK, Sir James Dyson, of the vacuum cleaner, recently commented on the fact that there are very few UK citizens taking up post graduate engineering places at university. He pointed out that from the 3,825 post graduate engineering students in 2008 only 70 came from the UK. If the UK wants to create wealth, more British technical students are required.

He warned that: “If we can’t recruit engineers and scientists here from universities – particularly those who have been on postgraduate courses – then we will have to go and recruit from foreign universities and locate our research in foreign countries.”

This exodus of technical companies is already happening in the Netherlands according to the NRC newspaper. Companies who can not find enough technically educated staff are leaving the Netherlands all together to move to countries where they can find sufficient technically minded personnel.

The focus over the last 30 years has been that students should study the subjects they were most interested in. At the same time students were not informed about technical subjects or the careers they could enjoy in particular technical industries. The result? The number of people with a degree in ‘sport’ has risen dramatically. After all, who would not want something to do in sport? There are now 21 university courses delivering 2,100 graduates per year.

The fact that there are only 30 – 40 vacancies at that level per month means that competition for those nice sporty jobs is immense. There are five times more graduates than there are jobs. Take into account that there are already 3 – 4 ‘professionals’ funded by 1 top player and you can see where this is heading…. It looks like those football players will have to be paid even bigger salaries in order to keep all those sport ‘professionals’ in work. How many managers can the sport fund?

When it comes to managing the UK NHS (medical) system tops the list. There are now more managers than there are doctors. And what do the produce? More paperwork! The socialist wind that has been blowing through Europe for the last few decades seems to think that the more paperwork they create the more people can be put to ‘work’.

European politicians need to wake up to the fact that economies thrive on ‘things’ being made. Look at the ‘things’ Germany produces. Their engineering based economy is still thriving, despite the European economy being hammered. The Chinese and Indians still prefer to drive a BMW or a Mercedes, so the German economy profits from the Chinese growth.


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