Skill shortages and education funding have been prominent in the media recently. How will we balance the need for appropriately well-trained people in the future?
A person’s ability and proficiency is not always related to their level of education, in fact some highly skilled people have very little formal education. Skills are usually learned with observation and practice, and it is more effective if these abilities are initiated with children at an early age, so that practice, knowledge and technique can develop over many years. Introducing children to a wide range of life experiences, starting in kindergarten can provide the building blocks for future careers.
Information on almost any subject can now be conveyed and received in milliseconds; so it is possible that only 15-20 per cent of working people will require a high level of academic education in the future. Our society will however, require significant numbers of young, practical, skilled people to replace the multitude of retiring baby boomers.
The education system in Britain in the 1960s produced the majority of the employable young people at the age of 14 or 15 years old. Skills, work ethics and responsibilities were well developed by the age 18-20. Perhaps there are some lessons from the past that will help facilitate the needs for skills and education in the future.