Vocational and hands-on jobs for younger people like myself seem to be becoming a thing of the past. Throughout my Labour-led schooling I was told that going to university is the best thing you can do – the only option. Never once was something like construction or joinery offered to us as a choice, let alone suggested as a career. It seemed they only wanted us, real students with real lives ahead of us, to go to university purely so that we could fulfill their target quotas. Their ability to proclaim political success was all.
When the time came to choose ‘my’ options in secondary school, I wanted to try out Construction. I thought I’d be good at it, and that it would be a useful skill, maybe even lead to a career. My choice was rejected straight away. Rather, I was told that I had to do German, a language I very much doubt I’d use in everyday life.
The school wanted me to just be like every other student and know my place. They wanted me to simply accept that I would not be given the chance to learn valuable life skills. A modern language fit their objective (rising up the league tables) so much better. Never one to take things lying down, I did something else: I fought for the chance to do a course in Construction, and after persistent pleas I got my way. It was great! I learned how to build a wall, and vital joinery and painting skills that I will stand me in good stead for the rest of my life. These skills should be made clearly available to any child who wants to learn them, not least because these vital skills will always be needed, giving our youth the opportunity of a lifelong fulfilling career.
I believe that we are already seeing a shortage of these skills amongst young Brits, as the children educated under a Labour government graduate. That gap is being filled by Eastern European immigrants – people we are told the country ‘needs’ because ‘British people don’t want to do them’.
Labour are supposed to be the party of the working classes. So why has Labour tried to force more and more students onto pointless university courses, saddling them with debt in the process, whilst causing a massive hole in the workforce when it comes to practical vocations? Did Labour really consider the outcomes when they thought up their ‘50% in university’ target? I think we all know the answer to that.