"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Monday, March 12, 2007

CBI : Double Science Graduates in 10 years or the scientific skills base disappears

The UK employers organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) speaking for 80% of the FTSE 100 and some 200,000 companies has kicked off National Science Week with a clear, unambiguous, easily understood policy objective..


The UK needs to double the proportion of science and engineering graduates (currently only 12% 0r 24,000) leaving university by 2014 or see skilled jobs go overseas

The UK's world-leading position in industries like pharmaceuticals, aerospace (?) and bio-technology might be forced to relocate to areas with a ready supply of employees with these skills.

They identify 4 barriers to increasing the output of science graduates:

1. Dilapidated, under resourced teaching facilities - Poor science laboratories in schools - with one in four unsafe or inadequate according to the Royal Society of Chemistry, and four in ten basic and uninspiring. Their report in 2004 identified the need in the UK for £1.9 Bn with an additional £70m per annum for teaching materials, in order to raise all school laboratories to a good standard. ... don't hold your breath.

2. A shortage teachers with specialist knowledge to teach GCSE and A level 25% of secondary schools do not have a specialist physics teacher. See also "2004150 Mathematics and Science in Secondary Schools: The Deployment of Teachers and Support Staff to Deliver the Curriculum"DfES 22/1/2006 Key research priority - world class education workforce

3. A stripped-down curriculum, devoting too little time to science - only 20% of state schools offers separate GCSEs in physics, chemistry and biology - consequently even fewer advance to A level examinations.

4. Poor careers advice, coupled by failure to stimulate young people's interest in the well-paid (?) and cutting edge careers available in science and engineering.

In 2005 the Government pledged to spend £200million improving science facilities in schools but although the money has been allocated it remains unspent.

John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director-General, said today : "Britain has a world class science base and many world-beating companies but we must build on these strengths, not allow them to wither on the vine."

Sir John Cridland is talking insufferable bollocks here, the UK does NOT have a world class science base. Truly the UK has some ageing, astonishingly brilliant scientists, many of them from the Old Commonwealth. Scientists are as welcome in the Boardrooms of British industry as syphilis in a nunnery.

Let's just look at Sir John Cridlands career ...

He studied Indian and African history at Christ’s College Cambridge and joined the CBI in 1982. He was appointed Director of Human Resources Policy in 1995, negotiating the UK’s first National Minimum Wage, entry into the EU Social Chapter and the Employment Relations Act 1999. Previously he had been Director of Environmental Affairs and played a key role on lobbying for the Environment Act 1995.

He is also a member of the Low Pay Commission and the ACAS Council. He was awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours List 2006.

Martin Broughton the President of the CBI ? ... He joined BAT as a travelling auditor in 1971 and held a variety of financial positions before becoming finance adviser for Asia. He is also chairman of the British Horseracing Board.

Richard Lambert Director-General of the CBI ? History graduate from Balliol, Oxford, journalist.

Sir Digby Jones (Sir "Diggers") the previous President .... ex KPMG, Ex Deloitte's ...

Pic Future mathematicians ... accountants or ...getting ready for a job on the till at Tesco?

That money promised ...well this is what the prudent Chancellor was reported saying in the Guradian after his budget speech March 22nd 2006

Every advanced industrial country knows that falling behind in science and mathematics means falling behind in commerce and prosperity.

So the education secretary is announcing today a comprehensive programme for the recruitment, retraining, retention and reward of 3,000 science teachers; a new entitlement to study the full range of science subjects at GSCE level; and the funding of after school science clubs starting in 250 schools.

And to ensure investment is matched by performance we will benchmark science results, just as we now benchmark English and mathematics.
News of new science teachers ? School science club funding ? Benchmarking results ? Where ?

The Government published the March of Science and Innovation Framework 2004 -2014: Next Steps, which committed it to increase the proportion of science teachers with a specialism in chemistry from 24 percent to 31 percent by 2014. Progress ? Zero.

The CBI are 100% right in calling for an immediate doubling of science graduates in the next decade. This is a massive task, those graduates in 2014/15/16 are now just emabarking on their school careers... there is not a minute to waste. The whole project should be undertaken as a sort of national Marshall Plan...for it is nothing less. The survival of UK manufacturing is at stake ... we have at the most, 10 years.

However consider this first ...

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is the pre-eminent engineering institution in the world. Established as a learned society in 1818, it has 80,000 members and provides a voice for civil engineering, continuing professional development and promoting best practice throughout the industry.

See Lord Patel Thursday, July 13, 2006 Short-sighted energy planning threatens bleak future

Tom Foulkes, MBA BSc CEng FICE FIMechE , ICE Director General, introduced the report The ‘State of the Nation 2003’ three years ago (01/07/2003) which the Press Release said, "Britain will become completely reliant upon energy sources supplied via pipelines from politically unstable countries thousands of miles away. The ‘State of the Nation 2003’ report highlights a potential 80% shortfall in meeting the country’s energy demands from current supplies by 2020, and points to the possibly cataclysmic effects of becoming reliant upon unsecured, imported fuel supplies."

Tom Foulkes is a military, civil, and mechanical engineer. He was educated at Clifton College, RMA Sandhurst, RMCS Shrivenham (BSc in Civil Engineering), Staff College, RCDS and the Open University (MBA).


Anonymous said...

Two points.

(i) Pay is crap.
(ii) Scientists hate one another. (A Dr Shipman could never happen in the science world; scientist go out of their way NOT to watch one anothers backs - at least that is the case in the UK pharma industry).

Francisco said...

Most of us science graduates would like to get into this field, however the pay when compared with a "city job" is ridiciclous, in my case it was £24,000 honest

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish