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Young, David

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The Times - United Kingdom | 07/07/2011

British disdain engineering professions

After losing a British government contract worth several billion euros to the German company Siemens, the Canadian train manufacturer Bombardier has announced plans to close its Derby plant in the UK, entailing the loss of 1,400 jobs. The conservative daily The Times examines why the contract went to Germany: "For the past hundred years German industry has been far better than ours, despite the destruction of two world wars. If you want a reason, start with education. While our educational establishment has long felt that the world of work was beneath it, in Germany respect has always been paid to vocational and technical education. ... In Germany an engineer is known as 'doctor', and in the UK as 'a bloody mechanic' ... Even if we had a properly educated and trained workforce, we would need a competitive and entrepreneurial economy, and this is where government has a real role to play."

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