back to article A nation of CODERS? Yes, says UK.gov, and have some cash to do it

A National College for Digital Skills is to open in London in 2015, as part of a raft of government measures announced on Monday intended to improve Blighty's economic output. The college aims to teach digital and coding skills to 5,000 learners within five years, and will focus on "higher level technical provision, through a …

  1. psychonaut

    is it not easier

    to just pay a decent wage for teaching? starting salary of 23k for a maths graduate? and you have to put up with children? whats not to like....

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: is it not easier

      23k is very nearly the UK annual average full time wage. So the graduate gets that, plus a gold plated pension, a job for life or as near as still exists, plus what amounts to a hell of a lot of holidays. I'm not saying they don't work hard for it, (my teachers certainly did ;-) but it is already a good wage in most of the country.

      For those that don't like putting up with children, I can only presume you've never had to work with traders! It's very much the same thing as looking after children, but you report to them and they have better cars.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: is it not easier

        "23k is very nearly the UK annual average full time wage. So the graduate gets that, plus a gold plated pension, a job for life or as near as still exists, plus what amounts to a hell of a lot of holidays. I'm not saying they don't work hard for it, (my teachers certainly did ;-) but it is already a good wage in most of the country."

        I'm going to guess you didn't get a first-class degree in mathematics, or certainly statistics. You should be comparing the £23k to the median wage among people who possess first-class degrees in maths or physics. Now it looks a lot worse. The pension is quite good, yes, worth a couple of grand a year, so let's say £25k. The holidays are not too good, actually. You spend half of them writing lesson plans. And they don't really compensate for the evenings and weekends that you lose during term. Just for extra kicks, when you do get your holiday from work any flights and hotel you might want to book to get away from things is really expensive because that's when other people take their holidays. Throw in disruptive little bastards and their dickish parents (strangely there's a correlation between the two) and it's a horrible job.

        And no, I'm not a teacher. Neither is my partner.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: is it not easier

          Mine is. And you are fairly perceptive.

        2. James Hughes 1

          Re: is it not easier

          @DavCrav

          whilst your points are valid, I doubt there are enough 1st class degrees in mathematics awarded per year to fill the teacher gap. So unless I have missed something in the announcement, they are not really after just first class degrees, which clearly are worth a lot more elsewhere.

          Getting any people with 'decent' degrees in to teaching is surely the aim.

          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: is it not easier

            @Myself - just re-read and saw the comment on 1st class degree. That's a 25k upfront, so a salary, so a one off payment to actually do it I presume. Still think they are limiting themselves too much by sticking to 1st class degrees.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: is it not easier

              "Still think they are limiting themselves too much by sticking to 1st class degrees."

              Typical government nonsense anyway. The real talent in teaching anything is not the difference between a 1st, a 2:1, a 2:2, or even non-honours. That merely measures a combination of aptitude, talent, application at degree level in the subject.

              Teaching anything well is a surprisingly rare talent that is almost completely divorced from somebody's tertiary level achievement. I know people with doctorates that couldn't teach either their own research specialism well, nor even how to tie shoelaces. That doesn't devalue their doctorates, merely states the obvious that academic brilliance is the not the same as teaching ability.

              Conversely a friend of mine is the head of subject (and of IT) at a school that is second in its county league tables, with 98% 5+ GCSE A*-C grades. He scraped a non-honours degree from a sub-university institution - apparently he's persona non grata in Shiney Faced Dave's brave new world of teaching.

              So as usual, UK government waste my cash on rubbish that doesn't need doing (particularly so after encouraging big corporates to offshore the coding for the past two or three decades).

              1. Flatpackhamster

                Re: is it not easier

                To teach in Finland requires a Masters' degree. I would argue that the government isn't being selective enough with its teachers - particularly when I look at the people I shared a university with who became teachers off the back of their Desmond.

                1. kainp121

                  Re: is it not easier

                  Sadly that's only true in some states in the US

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: is it not easier@Flatpackhamster

                  "To teach in Finland requires a Masters' degree"

                  And what of it? I've got a master's degree (like plenty of others round here) but that says nothing about my suitability to educate kids.

        3. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: is it not easier

          You should be comparing the £23k to the median wage among people who possess first-class degrees in maths or physics.

          No, you were closer than my original assertion but you're wrong too. I should have compared it to the median starting salary among those who possess first-class degrees in maths or physics, with similar lengthy holidays, guaranteed annual increments, short contractual work days (everyone in every profession ends up with unpaid overtime), gold plated pensions, and an all but guaranteed tennure to retirement if you can keep your hands off the kids. Unfortunately, there's no comparator profession I can find, so simply used the national average.

          The pension is quite good, yes, worth a couple of grand a year, so let's say £25k.

          I can only presume you're engineering numbers to enhance your position rather than amending your position to reflect the numbers. The pension is worth very nearly half their base pay once spousal component and inflation linking are added. Alternatively I would have to posit that your "first-class degree in mathematics, or statistics" was recently obtained and from a regional poly at best.

          That amounts to a notional salary of about 31/32k for a box fresh graduate to work a contract specifying a lot fewer hours than any other full time employee (again, everyone in any profession gets the pleasure of unpaid overtime). Roll up the contracts to identical hours and you'd find the day one graduate earning about 35k as an annualised notional package. First class degree or no, that is an excellent starting wage, especially outside London.

          Throw in disruptive little bastards and their dickish parents (strangely there's a correlation between the two) and it's a horrible job.

          As I said previously, try handling traders. Their behaviour isn't any better, their language more profane, and they can readily end your job should the whim posess them. At least the teachers get paid more than the kids get pocket money.

          I dated plenty of teachers when I was younger so am familiar with their work patterns. The hours were largely comparable to my own, but the holidays were way in excess of the 5 weeks per year I had.

          While its going back rather more decades than I'd like, most of my own teachers were burn outs who should have left the profession a long time before I got to school. To say their effort was minimal would be generous; my comprehensive school failed so badly they turned it into an academy [1]. Rather than throwing more money at teaching, the government could achieve far greater educational outcomes across the spectrum if they could find a way to identify the burned out teachers and manage them out of the profession, creating space for better candidates. The kids all know who the best teachers are and those who put in no effort, so I refuse to believe it isn't possible.

          [1] Please don't mistake my post as my thinking all teachers are rubbish. I had a few excellent teachers who did their best with what they had to work with in terms of both kids and colleagues. I still recall their names and faces, and have very fond memories of their classes as well as significant gratitude for their effrots.

          1. jpb421

            Re: is it not easier

            The starting salary for a new graduate is not too bad. The job itself, given the excessive paperwork and so on is not very attractive even to those who enjoy teaching - most teachers I know are ex-teachers.

            The problem comes in the area of attracting career changers. They want to encourage people to come into teaching from industry but the salary is still the same and the pension is worth less as you have a lot less years to build it up. So you're probably being asked to go down to £23k from £40+k.

            The other strange thing is that they are all out to encourage people with 1sts to apply but the main criteria for teacher training is still enthusiasm rather than subject knowledge. For a typical teaching job in a secondary school the level of maths is very basic up to GCSE which will cover the vast majority of the teaching being done. A brilliant mathematician is likely to just get frustrated and won't necessarily be a very good communicator when it comes to teaching say how to do percentages.

          2. amanfromarse

            Re: is it not easier

            You earn a shit load more working with traders than you do teaching kids.

            However, most kids are OK when taught by a decent teacher, but I've never met a trader who wasn't an irredeemable c***.

          3. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: is it not easier

            "I can only presume you're engineering numbers to enhance your position rather than amending your position to reflect the numbers. The pension is worth very nearly half their base pay once spousal component and inflation linking are added. Alternatively I would have to posit that your "first-class degree in mathematics, or statistics" was recently obtained and from a regional poly at best."

            Close, but no cigar. Doctorate from Oxford. But anyway, I've priced in the fact that I don't believe that any of these gold-plated pensions will exist in forty years' time; I myself am paying into the universities Superannuation Scheme, and right now our benefits are being eroded. The likelihood that there will be a gold-plated pension at the end of the scheme is low. In our case the university puts in 14% of salary and the employee puts in 7% (roughly) but they're killing off final salary, and defined benefit will go in a decade or two at the most. They will even kill off my accrued benefits by not inflation-proofing it properly. So think of the "gold-plated pension" as a promise not to mess about with it if it costs too much.

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: is it not easier

              I've priced in the fact that I don't believe that any of these gold-plated pensions will exist in forty years' time

              You've massively mispriced that risk then. While I think you're right, todays accruals will still be paid and so must be costed. You can pretty much guarantee the next 10 years payout, but after that you'll possibly be in a DC scheme.

              In our case the university puts in 14% of salary and the employee puts in 7%

              You've missed the exceptionally generous taxpayer contribution too. 21% of salary paid in would accrue a truely tiny pension after 40 years. Certainly nothing close to the level of cash you can expect in payment.

              That 23k base pay we talked of earlier. 60% of that would set you back a little over £300,000 then you need to add on the cost of the spousal component and inflationary uplift. That doesn't even factor in the cost of investment risk down the decades. Costing that at even 50% of base pay is being a little generous - it's probably closer to 55% if you're doing it in a private DC scheme.

              And that, good Dr, is a cigar rolled on the thighs of Cuban virgins.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: is it not easier

        Or you could take your 1st in Maths and get > £ 45k on a grad scheme in a bank. Hmm.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: is it not easier

      Would £25k have got me into teaching, with my first-class maths degree? No. Small (in the grand scheme of things) financial inducements to do jobs you don't want to do only work in the short term. Without a continuing financial inducement I would leave, and so would anyone else smart enough to get a first-class degree in mathematics or physics.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    win in the global race

    win in the global race

    What frikkin' 'race' ? Why can we not just get on with our global neighbours peacefully - why does there have to be a race involved? Where is the finishing line of this race anyway, and what happens to the winner/losers?

    Its no coincidence that the investment banks in London all consdider themselves to be in some kind of race, and look what happened - not only to them but also the global economy.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: win in the global race

      Whilst I sympathise, unfortunately, the RoW is already racing, so we have to join in otherwise we will sink to the 'bottom'.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: win in the global race

        @James

        Yes, it is unendingly depressing when people bang on about a "race to the bottom", as though taking what they'd consider a principled stand could produce any other result than guaranteeing to lose the race.

        Like it or not, the world is in a global competition, for resources, for talent, for taxes, for pretty much all that is worth having. The UK can either take part and try to win, or it can choose to lose aware that there is no plan B.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: win in the global race

          Still no-one can define what it actually means to 'win'. For that matter, even in a country which is nomially 'winning', what is the impact on it of other countries 'losing'.

          In balance, I think its clear to see (if you care to look) that there can be no winner or loser ... its all really just hyperbole spouted by politicians who need to be able to promise to deliver something better than they actually can.

  3. LucreLout Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Just maybe....

    ..... it would be more productive to hang on to some of the coders we already have?

    Where is the sense in allowing rampant offshoring twinned with widespread ageism to decimate the experienced coders? If little Timmy[1] sees his coder dad[2] forever struggling to maintain employment due to the above, yet sees them spending their little free time they have hitting the books/blogs to stay current, where then is little Timmy's incentive to enter the industry? Why not just do a law degree like everyone else, or worse still, an MBA?

    If the government would refrain from being seen to be destroying the very industry they claim to seek extra skills in, those of us in that industry wouldn't regard the future as so uncertain, and might just encourage our progeny to follow us into the profession, rather than recommending they do anything but this.

    I've not struggled for work, nor yet been a victim of ageism (of which I'm aware), but I do see a relative lack of programmers older than me, and those that I know well complain of ageism as the biggest risk they face. Instead they move over to become BAs or some toher non-coding related work.

    [1][2] - Timmy/Theresa, his/her, mam/dad.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Just maybe....

      I'm late 40's, have rarely been out of work as a softie, and have just realised I am the oldest one in the new office I have just started in. Not seen any ageism in my career, so, am I lucky, or the norm?

      As an aside, how would the government prevent offshoring? It's the companies doing it, so how is it the government destroying the industry?

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Just maybe....

        As an aside, how would the government prevent offshoring?

        How does the government prevent anything happening that it doesn't want? Tax it and regulate it, and if that fails, amend the law making it impossible or uneconomic to continue.

        For the governments part, it could make coming here to work as a software developer a lot more restricted than it is, and they could refuse to offshore their own IT work.

        All of the recent banking outages had offshorians pulling the trigger on the issue due to a lack of ability, experience, or understanding. Regulating that goes beyond "talking my book" as it were, and into the realms of socially useful.

        Not seen any ageism in my career, so, am I lucky, or the norm?

        I've not been victim to it yet myself, as far as I know, but I've lost count of the younger colleagues I have that have left an interview with a 50+ year old candidate and made the initial evaluation of "Too old. He won't be able to keep up with the technology". That cuts both ways, in a sense, as I've also known older colleagues to leave an interview with a gradate and remark that they're "not sure the candidate is potty trained yet".

        Maybe the industry will change for itself, maybe it won't. But I do know that from my desk here, I can see nobody over the age of 50 with access to a compiler.... and I can see a little over 200 people on my side of this floor.

        Whichever way things go, I wish you the very best of luck in your career anyway.

        1. jpb421

          Re: Just maybe.... (Ageism)

          As someone over 50 who is currently job hunting I think that there is ageism but it is perhaps not conscious but more subtle. With software/technology generally the general process is that people move over into management as they get older. If you stay in technical roles then you start to look out-of-place. Additionally you gain a lot of irrelevant experience which employers don't want to pay for but feel that you will expect to be paid for - it is much simpler to employ a new graduate.

          Also the corporate culture of a lot of software houses is aimed at the young (single) worker - an older family person won't feel the same degree of excitement at the sort of corporate outings that new graduates enjoy. Chilling out on bean bags becomes less attractive when you have dodgy knees and probably won't be able to get back up off them! :)

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Just maybe.... (Ageism)

            "With software/technology generally the general process is that people move over into management as they get older."

            That's typical of all industries. Move people out of something they enjoy, have the skills and aptitude for, and move them into something they have absolutely no ability in or wish to do.

      2. kraut

        Re: Just maybe....

        <blockquote>I'm late 40's, have rarely been out of work as a softie, and have just realised I am the oldest one in the new office I have just started in. Not seen any ageism in my career, so, am I lucky, or the norm</blockquote>

        So you've not encountered any ageism as a young man? Well, knock me down with a feather! Next you'll be telling us that as a bloke you've not experienced much sexual discrimination, and that white people are rarely at the receiving end of racism....

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: Just maybe.... @kraut

          You are going to have to explain your post, because I am not sure what you are getting at.

          But if it makes you happy, AFAIK, I have not experienced any ageism, sexual or racial discrimination, and have, I think, not been responsible for any either.

    2. Tim Almond

      Re: Just maybe....

      A huge amount of offshoring is because companies struggle to get people.

      I'm not sure what this maths initiative is designed to achieve. More teachers doesn't mean more coders.

      What we really need is a respected coder's certificate.Something that you can go to an employer and say "look, I can build code". A year's course in a local technical college - learn the fundamentals of computer science, how to code in a modern OO language like Python or Java, how a relational DB works, and then build a CRUD website that is both marked, and can be viewed by prospective employers. Something kids leaving school at either 16 or 18 can do.

      And no, that doesn't cover all computing needs. I'd still need to take a Java guy and get him to convert to C#, to learn jQuery and AJAX. But at least I'd know he understood things like data structures and OO coding, which are a springboard to almost all other software development.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just maybe....

        "A huge amount of offshoring is because companies struggle to get people."

        Bollocks.

        A huge amount of offshoring is because it is cheaper for big companies to run their technology support and call centre functions in cheap office locations such as Mumbai and New Delhi. It isn't the difference in salaries which counts, its actually the cost of maintaining a seat at a desk in a London office which matters most(*).

        The official term for this is 'rightshoring'.

        Surely more tele-working would be a solution? Or at least recognition that companies don't need prestige city office locations to attract good UK talent.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Just maybe....

          It isn't the difference in salaries which counts, its actually the cost of maintaining a seat at a desk in a London office which matters most

          Agreed. As the only permie in my team, I'm merilly assigned the entire desk cost for all our contractors, because they get budgetted from project codes and so can't carry a desk cost.

          Internal accounting is a wonderous thing.... accountants wonder what we'd do without them, while we wonder what on earth they were thinking.

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Just maybe....

        A huge amount of offshoring is because companies struggle to get people.

        I fail to see how that can be the case when so many developers are struggling for roles/contracts - they can't all be poor at the job.

        The solution to attracting people is easy and it is the same for all roles: Pay the market rate and keep paying it, make the workplace attractive by cutting paper work and hr guff to a minimum, ensure all managers are reviewed carefully and continuously as poor line managers are ruinous, and provide opportunities for continuous development. I've never known any employer doing those four simple things struggle to attract or retain staff.

        Offshoring is about cost reduction rather than talent acquisition, and it always will be.

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    re offering school leavers a bursary to study maths or physics

    So they withdraw the windfall for newly qualified physics teachers (ie those who have made it) and announce 'new money' to give to 'potential' physics teachers instead.

    Still, at least the support staff (who actually have to teach some of these muppets as practical skills are next to nil) are known to be able to exist on just above basic minimum wage ...

    I hate the Government.

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Very poor rhetoric

    "David Cameron said today: "There’s no secret to success in the modern world. If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists - pure and simple. So today, we commit to deliver more maths and science teachers.""

    Success in the modern world comes from people with outstanding ideas which are then put into action. But those outstanding ideas must first be nurtured and the nanny state is not the most appropriate environment.

    Can someone please give this Cameron character a sharp slap to the ear in the hope that it will shake him out of his rhetorical bubble...

    Cameron seems to be dropping down to the George Bush level of intelligence.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Very poor rhetoric

      Success in the modern world comes from going to Eton and knowing lots of people in government, the law and at the top of big companies who can help an old friend.

      Or is that just the UK ?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Very poor rhetoric

        Class and what 'school' you went to is probably even more important in the US than there.

        To succeed there with the 'old boys network' you have to be in the right School, then be accepted into the right Faternitiy/Sorority and thus get that all important ring for your pinkie.

        Even after 'School' you get asked which school you went to in many social situations.

        Personally, I think that the US is worse than here.

        But then I'd say that wouldn't I as I am a mere Polytechnic graduate.

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Very poor rhetoric

      Cameron has a point.

      The cabinet isn't exactly overflowing with mathematicians ans scientists, and they're a complete shower of idiots.

  6. batfastad

    Code-As-A-Sport

    Do computers rather than sportings because, well, we privatised all the sports facilities so they're too damn expensive to use. We'll call it "Code-As-A-Sport". There, you can now teach it in PE.

    Skip teaching fundamental maths, algebra and science, just do some generic coding will you? We really need an army of smug hipster web developers brandishing Macs and Adobe DreamWetter.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Code-As-A-Sport

      You get the award for lack of understanding of the day.

      They are not stopping maths, algebra, science, English etc. Coding is in addition and supplements the current ICT curriculum (it's not all of it - that's a media fuck up as usual). And coding will, I believe, help in a lot of those subjects anyway (computational thought process, algebra etc). The new curriculum will take people away from 'hipster' shit, and push teach 'proper' coding - starting with things like Scratch and moving on to Python.

      I suggest taking a look at the curriculum, and prepare to be educated.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Code-As-A-Sport

        >They are not stopping maths, algebra, science, English etc.

        But they're certainly not prepared to pay a decent rate for high quality teaching of same. And they're even less prepared to retool the UK economy so it's run by people of clue, and not by greedy little posturing posh-boy wankers and their banker chums.

  7. John 156
    Holmes

    Another UKIP policy stolen by the LibLabCon: UKIP had previously announced that they would fund free STEM subjects at uni in exchange for working in this country for a minimum of 5 years.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Funny how the standard policy under 30years of tory+labour governments (pre Blair) is now a fringe party policy

  8. Alistair Dabbs

    And the student loan?

    The bursary is nice but do they still have to pay for their tuition fees?

  9. codejunky Silver badge

    However

    Getting teachers who actually want to teach it and will try to make it interesting would be a good idea. And of course someone smacking the gov whenever any one of them tries to interfere and mess with the lessons.

    Education can be fun and interesting, but I never got that in school. From what I hear this is still a problem in a lot of schools in the area.

  10. John Styles

    Thoughts

    1. Focusing on the National Academy for Digital Skills thing, IBM are one of the sponsors, why are they bothering? What use do they have for developers in the UK rather than India etc.?

    2. I see it's in London. Handy that that's a cheap place to live, rent/buy offices, and cheap for the staff to live.

    3. Aaaaargh, Register commenters on the subject of teaching, why did I look?

    4. How are they going to get the bursary back if people don't do the job? Will it be added onto their student loan? Will it be like buying yourself out the army? Or will they just take a kidney?

  11. boltar Silver badge

    Coding? HTML more like.

    HTML + CSS - which are usually taught in these sorts of courses - isn't coding , its typesetting. Javascript is a bit better but its still coding in a playpen. THey should teach a proper programming language , not too hard for first timers so no C or C++ or even Java. Python or Ruby would probably be the best choice. Simple enough for beginners to get something up and running fast but powerful enough to allow access to all the machines capabilities.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Coding? HTML more like.

      Noooo give them assembler... or better still flipping switches in a magnetic bubble memory thats when programming was real programming and we all lived in hole in middle of t' road....

      you dont need a langauge to teach programming, english does the trick.

      Because I start off with the fresh faced school leavers (actually the drop outs) who end up in a factory full of robots, who then watch as I make the things sing and dance (or would do if the boss let me).

      And the way I teach the programmming is always the same : get the kids to write down in clear english exactly what they are trying to get the machine to do, then break it down into simple steps eg

      Move left 100mm;

      Select tool 2;

      Check if tool broken, if so, select tool 3;

      Then translate it into the code the machine understands, once you've got that drill into them, it does'nt matter which langauge they end up using.

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          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: Coding? HTML more like.

            The curriculum requires visual (for the younger students) and text languages, so Scratch and usually Python.

  12. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Don't forget the ethical aspects

    After all teaching children how to code is useless without them knowing why and what to code. Most of the problems with IT in our society is caused by programmers not thinking through what consequences their actions have. If you write a messenger which stores contact lists on some central server, instead of finding a decentralized approach, you are responsible for someone abusing that data and perhaps even raiding the home of someone, just because they had some the phone number of someone in an opposition party on your phone.

    Code shapes the world. And better code can make the world a better place. People need to see their responsibility.

  13. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A couple of overlooked points maybe.

    1) Individuals working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, contribute twice as much to national productivity, according to a report by Deloitte cited by the government.

    So one of the companies support this also prepared a report for the government to use to approve it. That's sort of like hiring HP to come in a assess your hardware. Naturally they'll tell you to dump it all and buy some HP goods.

    "Twice as much to national productivity".. ah.. it's about the money generated but if they offshore the coding, then all this is for naught. Unless the companies who sponsor this are hoping that the market will be flooded with coders and they can drop their wages since it's getting more expensive to offshore.

    2) David Cameron said today: "There’s no secret to success in the modern world. If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists - pure and simple. So today, we commit to deliver more maths and science teachers."

    As other countries labor rates rise, offshoring is becoming less of an option in many places. However, there's always a need for high-level schooling and brains for R&D. Many of these positions are held by imported labor since there's a shortage. Is all this due to the schooling (or lack of a proper education) or is it the kids prefer to hang with their friends, play on their computers and moan that they can't get a job instead of preparing for a job?

    We in the States have similar issues. But tossing money at problem (inducements to schools, etc.) seldom work. They create a new level of bureaucracy and with all the crap that teachers have deal with besides teaching (and they have to do it on class time), the goals are seldom accomplished. I don't have answers but I see this as extension of what we have here. Be afraid, very afraid.

  14. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Pint

    What would help most to lift the British economy?

    The nation needs more beer brewers.

  15. Cynicalmark
    WTF?

    Oh what a load of....

    Contribute twice as much yet get paid half that of some moron with a degree in Social Sciences busy testing employee metrics - yup thats the norm in this fair isle. I worked for a mutinational and advised them that coding and engineering outsourced to the Far East wouldn't give them a product with appeal - they ignored me and ended up with a lemon twice the expense and half the capabilities of their competitors - I left in disgust. Don't waste your time with the employment structure over here - get out before you're stuck here

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose this could combat off-shoring of IT work by generating a native population of cheap "coders"

  17. cantankerous swineherd

    more bullshit from the government; move along, nothing to see here.

  18. Elmer Phud

    Too little

    Too late

    The Apps moment has passed, it is no longer a new thing.

    This govenement would never use coders in the U.K. anyway -- too expensive for them, need code slaves instead.

  19. Rick Brasche

    you know what you get when you have a "nation of coders"?

    it's called a GLUT, and anyone in that field gets to fight hard over the scraps of jobs that millions of others are "good enough" to get. It becomes an employer's game.

    Just like all those unemployed "web designers" who were gonna "make it big" during the first dot-com boom. All the hype about learning that HTML, where even when the industry was strong, there were three applicants to every position.

    Focussing attention on one job type, whatever it is, on a national scale, is not the way to go. A broad based system on as much of the basic skills for as many fields makes more sense, with specialization available for those who want it.

    For those who lack the vision of what the "next big thing" will be, trying to force those without vision and drive into those fields hurts those who actually DID plan ahead.

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