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Future Wealthmakers - Where Are They...?


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Butterflies tinkle in my stomach. We’ll be told to open and begin the test soon. I’m in a large hall. And it’s summer 1977 and I’ve already sat and completed my CSEs and O-Levels two months prior. No, this is not an exam retake. I am trying to get an apprenticeship with a large engineering company in Brum, in competition with about a further 100 or so snotty-nosed 16-yr olds.

So what’s up – weren’t my reasonable school results good enough? Apparently not. So here I am, trying to convince them that I possess the appropriate ‘aptitude’.

I made the cut and got into the 40 that were selected that year. I felt proud to have made it.

On the first day at apprentice school we were assembled in the same hall we sat the aptitude test. The manager of the training school stood at the front – a regimental sergeant major in all but dress – and gave us a speech on how we will "join boys and leave men". He held up a piece of steel “What’s this?” he asked the assembly. “A ruler, sir” someone piped up. “No, rulers are made from wood. The is a ‘ruuuule’. Rules are made of steel and when you lot leave here in 3 years time, you’ll be able to read this to within ‘5 thou’ (0.005 inches)!”. He was right too.

The factory no longer exists. Just like the jobs and skills that it once contained. It makes my heart sink when I drive past occasionally.

The generation of engineers forged in such places will all retire in the next 15 years. We need to pass our skills onto a new generation. One that will make the country great and strong again. Discuss.

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The factory no longer exists. Just like the jobs and skills that it once contained. It makes my heart sink when I drive past occasionally.

The generation of engineers forged in such places will all retire in the next 15 years. We need to pass our skills onto a new generation. One that will make the country great and strong again. Discuss.

The world has changed since then. At some point economic growth has to stop, because growth implies expenditure of the world's finite resources. 40 years ago that was the game, these days less so, in the future I hope the UK leads with an economy based on sustainabilty not growth. That means this country does not become greater and stronger, but that it becomes less great and weaker and more like the rest of the world. Maybe this will make for political stability too.

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you’ll be able to read this to within ‘5 thou’ (0.005 inches)!”. He was right too.

Meaningless. A metal rule will expand and contract a whole lot more than that from the heat of holding it in your hand. Let alone the difference between a hot and a cold day.

1977 was the last time we were seriously bust, with an economy built on inefficient, lame duck industries.

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Meaningless. A metal rule will expand and contract a whole lot more than that from the heat of holding it in your hand. Let alone the difference between a hot and a cold day.

1977 was the last time we were seriously bust, with an economy built on inefficient, lame duck industries.

Bit like banks today only difference being that the old lame duck industries produced something useful :rolleyes:

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The world has changed since then. At some point economic growth has to stop, because growth implies expenditure of the world's finite resources. 40 years ago that was the game, these days less so, in the future I hope the UK leads with an economy based on sustainabilty not growth. That means this country does not become greater and stronger, but that it becomes less great and weaker and more like the rest of the world. Maybe this will make for political stability too.

Not really true, as that kind of engineering does not need to use up finite resources - it just needs low-value stuff which it can apply itself to to make high value things. We could go through landfill for raw materials but if we dont have engineering skills we won't be able to do very much with the piles of material we have found in them.

Greatness and Strength in a country, organisation, group of people, family, does not have to come through wasteful consumption of resources, it can also come through quality of life, pride in achievements and ability to beat up other people not in the group.

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  • 440 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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