back to article Bosch, Siemens: Vorsprung durch kinder und technik

Remorseless Teutonic engineering firms, already desperate for engineering talent and seeing worse times ahead, have now moved their recruitment efforts into the kindergarten. Companies such as Bosch and Siemens believe that the post-industrial rot has now gone so deep that children must be put on the hard and righteous path at …


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  1. Martin
    Paris Hilton


    "within ten years every primary school in the country will have a teacher who is capable of teaching maths at the primary school level"

    WTF?? Surely every primary school ALREADY has teachers that can teach primary school math? Or am I missing something here?

    PH because even SHE knows that every school should already have that!

  2. Nick Askew
    IT Angle

    They probably will go to Asia

    "One major tech CEO told the FT: 'We can always go to Asia to find our engineers.' "

    I suspect the truth is that they probably will still go to Asia to find their techies. So having been told at an early age to study hard and prepare for a career they will later be told "it's cheaper to out source you" and "it's your own fault for not being more flexible" or perhaps I'm just a winging, bitter software engineer :-)

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Some background for the article

    German Kindergarden is up to the end 6 year old. So it actually equals the first 3 years of UK primary school. So actually what the UK is trying to do covers the same age group.

    There are differences however.

    Germans are not into Roger Waters lyrics reenactment, forced sedation onto the carpet, on-duty classroom excuse (aka class assistant) and other forms of depriving children of childhood which are trademarks of the UK educational system.

    While it is a popular idea to think of Germany in terms of Ordnung and discipline they actually leave the children to PLAY and DEVELOP SOCIAL SKILLS till the age of 7 and then send them to school proper. As a result they have only a fraction of the UK rate of psychologist intervention and surprise-surprise... Despite the fact that they start 3 years later than UK they reach the same (if not higher) academical level around the end of secondary school.

    Anyway, I hope that the German kindergarden teachers shovel it up back Siemens behind. They have made the right decision of making children have a childhood, no point allowing corporate PR to spoil it.

    Me coat, the one with "Let the children PLAY" written on it.

  4. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    Is engineering a good career choice?

    Sure, if you're prepared to work for a dollar a day and all the chapatis you can eat. Nick (sadly) is spot on.

    Ah well, must get back to the meeja studies homework (aka watching Corrie).

  5. Andrew Sinclair


    Engineering or prostitution, hum, what pays better?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Oh For God Sake

    This is truly damn ridiculous!!!

    I am sick and tired hearing that we need more engineers bla bla bla... I am a graduate engineer, I cant get a damn engineering job because they a) require stupid amount of skills from a graduate, and b) so far I have not been able to find many jobs in my discipline, so I am forced to work in IT... So what on earth are they talking about? I am craving to get a job that suits my education and skill set, but I just cant find one that does! Companies need to review their attitude with regards to pay and requirements!

    (I am a control engineer if anyone interested)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Egineering/Science/Maths Challenged

    'One major tech CEO told the FT: "We can always go to Asia to find our engineers."'

    If we as a society continue to shun that knowledge that made us what we are, then we deserve it,

    Technically, if the Siemens of this World started paying real money to engineers, then more people would consider it a worthwhile career. Until then, people will continue to study the easy/useless subjects and become consultants (or other role that requires more talk/powerpoint/excel) than anything real.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    It seems that it's the Germans who need engineers; presumably so that they can design executive cars for the UK's future lawyers, bankers etc.

    As for the future of UK engineering, we'll probably just continue to fool ourselves that we can base an entire economy on financial services and fast-food outlets...

  9. Marco van de Voort


    Same feeling here. Always whining about not getting enough engineers etc etc.

    But if that is so, and the engineering studies are the hard ones, why is the entry level salary of management oriented positions 10-15% higher? At least it is here in the NL.

    And that doesn't change further up in the career

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let the children PLAY

    Quite right, the only bits that matter at that age are literacy and numeracy, yet they insist on boring the poor blighters senseless with all sorts of other drivel.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This ship sailed 20 years ago

    You can't learn to be a real-world engineer (mechanical, electrical, chemical) in a classroom. It needs years of experience gained in various fields as a journeyman. Where is experience to be obtained now?

    Anything that can be done in China WILL be done in China. Any niche that the Chinese don't compete in doesn't make money anyway.

    Investors prefer to own shares in Chinese firms rather than compete with them.

    The only economic model that works now is the one we have where the old industrial nations become entirely dependant on China et al for all manufactured goods.

    We are now truly a nation of shopkeepers selling foreign goods and services to each other.

    Deal with it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and "we" can always go to Asia...

    ... to find our CEOs.

    Then again, maybe they'll just stay there with the engineers and put everyone else out of business.

  13. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Up

    Just the line

    "Meanwhile old Blighty, not to be outdone, has also revealed new plans to stem the similar decline" caused me to hold my head in my hands and think "oh joy, what've we come up with this time?". My suspicions were then confirmed.

    @Mark_T: And what should we do about it? I mean it's all well and good to say "anything that can be done in China will be done in China" but how do we drag people back to our country's products and services?

    Paying Engineers properly would be a good start, followed by limiting who can call themselves an "engineer" to at least those with a degree, if not to those with a professional qualification (chartership etc). Stop it being a catch-all term and replace that with "technician" or a similar term. Keep Engineer for those who've worked for the name (like we do with Doctors).

    The British used to have a great Engineering heritage. We now have the Homer Simpson philosophy of "if it's hard to do, it's not worth doing" and the impression that Engineering's hard and boring.

    What we should do is get rid of a lot of the pure theory, book-based learning and give pupils experience of real-world principles in a real-world environment. I didn't "get" the principle of moments before it was related to a see-saw. Bouyancy calculations weren't the easiest of things until I got a practical demonstration and a decent explaination of Archimedes Principle. An explaination of "The Bends" that divers suffer by way of an over-fizzed bottle of Coke really drove home what it was doing to you.

    We pick things up faster with real-world frames of reference, so giving the Engineers of the future more experience of what they're learning would mean they could grasp it faster and learn more AND stop making schoolboy errors due to a lack of understanding.

    *semi-rant over*

    WooYaay for the Germans trying to get kids more interested in Engineering. Lets hope they do it properly!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    "PLAY and DEVELOP SOCIAL SKILLS till the age of 7 and then send them to school proper. As a result they have only a fraction of the UK rate of psychologist intervention and surprise-surprise... Despite the fact that they start 3 years later than UK they reach the same (if not higher) academical (SIC) level around the end of secondary school."

    Absolute tosh - I went to an English primary school from the age of 4.5 till 11 then started my secodary eduction in Switzerland when my folks moved there for work. The Swiss also operate a play-till-seven policy. My Swiss peers were all absolutely useless and knew very little about the outside world. In comparison my English chums and I got to do exciting engineering-inspiring things like making circuits, programming with BASIC (ok, maybe not that exciting...) and the like. At English primary school, I got to develop my social skills in playtime. By all means reduce the stupid amounts of testing at primary level, but FFS don't start this no school till age seven nonsense, thus killing our one advantage compared with the rest of Europe.

    It sounds to me like Bosch, Siemens et al are trying to get the Germans to show the kiddies something other than just the three Rs when they do finally get around to starting school.

    @ unemployed AC

    Mate, I know you didn't ask for my advice, but chin up. I've got a masters in Mech Eng with Aero, and wound up working in the oil'n'gas industry as design engineer. But it took me a while* working my way via IT, uni-crap-jobs and shop-floor work - all of which my current employer valued as experience, even if it wasn't in the engineering industry. IT work = problem solving skills, Shop floor = less likely to design a pig, etc.

    *15 months from finals to 'proper job', since you ask

  15. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Another rise

    Can you say, "The beginning of the Fourth Reich"?!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    RE: Adam Foxton

    "how do we drag people back to our country's products and services?"

    We can't. The market is god.

    Limiting the title "Engineer" ? The heritage you speak of was started at Cromford Mill in God's Own County of Royal Derbyshire (ok I might be biased).

    It was driven by giant men of vision such as we shall never see again. Richard Trevithick and George Stephenson for example were self taught and did not have the benefit of higher education.

    People don't want the best, they don't want the longest-lived they want the very cheapest.

    If "The System" collapses when oil has gone and long-distance trade ends we may get a second chance.

  17. Joe

    @ Adam Foxton

    Pay engineers properly with money from where? All your customers will go for the cheaper option, which is outsourced overseas.

    It's called Capitalism. (With a capital C, as it seems to be an ideology that mustn't be questioned these days!)

  18. Thorsten

    The problem is the kindergarten teachers

    I moved (back) to Germany two years ago, and my daughters now attend a kindergarten where they got one of these Siemens-sponsored experimental kits. Two of the kindergarten teachers got a training course in order to be able to use the kit. Unfortunately, they don't. My guess is that if they were interested in science themselves, they wouldn't be kindergarten teachers.

    The point of these kits is not that the children actually learn that much about science, but that they get interested in this kind of stuff, and keep being interested when going to school. (which, BTW, children nowadays usually start when 5 years old, not 7)

    There are several organizations in Germany now that provide such kits to kindergartens, not just companies like Bosch and Siemens. The city of Stuttgart is now introducing a scheme called "Einstein in Kindergarten", which is supposed to enable children to investigate whatever they fancy, in order to help them develop a "scientific mindset". I suspect that very few kindergartens will actually introduce this scheme successfully, since at the very least it would require a much more intensive mentoring than the teachers can currently provide. (I think its two teachers per group of 15 children)

  19. Stewart Haywood

    Four Sprung Duck Technique.

    This brought back memories of a joke about a German and a lady of the night. The punch line was "It's my Four Sprung Duck Technique". Nothing to do with kindergarten of course.

  20. Tom


    I'm a Mech. Eng. graduate (as of last Friday!) going straight into a job. I had about a million job offers (OK, not quite, but still enough). The salary is competitive, and just shy of the UK average wage. Everyone in my class who wanted a job ASAP has got one, and the rest will not have a problem when the time comes. Even a friend who graduated with a 2:2 last year has a job now (ironically with one of the companies mentioned).

    I've said it before, and I shall say it again - you're a bunch of old fogies moaning about the death of "proper jobs" while failing to realise that only the unsustainable stuff went away. When your standards of living go up, coal mining is less attractive as a job. Engineering has got smarter, and a new generation of whizz-kids are going to shake it all up. The generation gap is closing.

    5 years ago, everything was being shipped off to china, and the future looked bleak. Now china is importing more high tech stuff than it put out and a recession is stripping all the fat from uk businesses. Chin up, eh?

  21. lglethal Silver badge

    For the unemployed

    Try leaving your country and looking for work for fuck sake! Your in Europe, you have access to work anywhere in the EU, flights are cheap, do the fucking maths!

    I finished my degree in Aus moved to the UK (because Aus has ZERO aerospace industry), found a job in the UK within 2 months of actually looking, and got to travel all over the world with it. And that was on a working holiday visa. When my visa expired i had to leave Europe so i came back to Aus worked for a year and now im heading to Germany for another job.

    This is the way of the new global economy. You follow the work or you accept the crap pay and conditions which you can get at your local sainsbury's.

    Truth be told if your UK degrees were actually worth anything on the world market you would find work easily but 3 years for a bachelor degree in engineering and 1 year for a master is a pathetically short time in which you wouldnt learn half of what you needed! It takes 4 years for a bachelor degree in Aus (and i still dont feel it was long enough to really prepare me for the industry) and another 2 years for a masters. Which system do you think is going to be more beneficial for your job prospects?

  22. amanfromMars Silver badge

    It is not called Great Britain for nothing, you know.

    "People don't want the best, they don't want the longest-lived they want the very cheapest." .... By Mark_T Posted Tuesday 17th June 2008 14:02 GMT

    Fortunately, Mark_T, there are those who are switched on to accept nothing less the the Best of the Best, either for or from themselves, and they will always Lead from the Front to Ensure FailSafe Passage and Immaculate dDelivery.

    And anyone can teach themselves that easily.

  23. Fuion


    Rocks in the the street.

    ---> Math joke.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Time for Anglo-Saxons to Get Back to Science Too

    I've had the pleasure of living in three Anglo-Saxon countries - UK, Canada and NZ. All three are topsy-turvy where smelly lawyers make too much money and questionable service industries just make money by shifting it around. Scientific innovations lags behind - manufacturing follows it down shortly thereafter.

    If we are to chase these magical niche sectors then it is time to grow up and embrace science and engineering. Yes, this means nasty things like tax rebates for engineers, scientists and their employers while screwing the useless ones.

    Or put them on a ship like in Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

  25. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Wakey, wakey, RockerFellas ...... Cinderella/Sin der Elle is Magical Mystery Turing

    "Rocks in the the street." .... By Fuion Posted Wednesday 18th June 2008 10:07 GMT

    David and Goliath, Fuion, with the Lesson Revisited for Reinforcing.

  26. david

    China (and India) has eaten our lunch and is moving on to dessert...

    I agree with Mark_T - China (and India) have loads of engineers - China claims to produce 500,000 graduate engineers a year.

    No point in the compaines whining about not enough engineers. Why would anyone want to be one? The pay is lower, and then after 20 years you realize everything you know is obsolete... Then you get outsourced. (Ok, Ok it's interesting etc...)

    I'm a CEng in telecoms, I gave up on the UK years ago. I live in Hong Kong, China and am in Bangalore, Inidia (though it doesn't feel like a high tech centre believe me) as I write this.

    Want to stay in engineering - get into defence. Oh, that's not gonna work either they're buying US and Israeli technology.

    Sorry for the UK - you're screwed

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