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Carlisle Tory MP: Tuition fee rise a good thing for teenagers

Carlisle MP John Stevenson believes the controversial rise in tuition fees will prove a good thing as it will mean fewer people will go to university.

John Stevenson photo
Conservative John Stevenson

He said that for too long the emphasis has been on university education, when it is not necessarily right for all.

He now hopes more young people will start to explore other options, such as apprenticeships, that will lead them into key skilled jobs in areas such as manufacturing.

He made the point at a recent meeting of the Cumbria Logistics Employers Forum (CLEF) at Brunton Park.

Mr Stevenson said he always believed that the last Government’s ambition to get half of all young people going to university was wrong.

“There has been a terrible emphasis on people going to university; this obsession to have 50 per cent going to university,” he said.

“I think it is utterly ridiculous and the increase in tuition fees might make people think and encourage certain sections of youngsters to do something different.

“I think they lost sight of the value of workplace experience and training. That’s where apprenticeships come in.”

Mr Stevenson said that for too long apprenticeships have been overlooked.

He is now encouraging local firms to expand the number of opportunities available to school leavers, who he believes will be crucial to expanding the manufacturing industry in Cumbria in the coming years.

“If you look at the figures recently, there is a great growth coming from the manufacturing industry. Carlisle alone has four or five big plants that seem to be doing really well,” he said.

“We want to encourage them to grow, expand and create new jobs and have to have the skills available in the local area to support that.”

Saying that, Mr Stevenson insists that he is not against university education, where it is best for the individual – and believes the new student loans system allows everyone to take advantage of that.

“If you want to go to university, regardless of your wealth or family background, the Government will make sure you can do so. You only have to repay the money after your salary reaches £21,000 so there are no financial barriers to that.”

But he said the key is for schools, employers and the Government to make sure young people go down the route that is best for them, not simply going to university because it is expected.

He added: “A lot of people went to university to do courses that, to be perfectly honest, they shouldn’t have done.”

Have your say

Having read through numerous comments in this newspaper, to say nothing of all the other evidence around, it has become apparent to me how many professionally educated and qualified people there are these days who seem to lack the English language skills that one would expect a graduate to have. It used to be the case that you could only move on to higher study if your standard of written English was of a high enough standard, in fact it used to be required to even pass a GCE level English language qualification.

This is merely an observation on the declining standards and "dumbing down" of our education system in general and our qualifications specifically over the last twenty to thirty years.

A large part of this has been, in my very humble opinion, due to the ever increasing demand of politicians to get more and more people to stay on longer in education with a view to having a "better educated nation".

Well forgive me if I differ with this idealogy, but there are plety of jobs where a great "education" is not required (a lot of factory jobs and manual jobs for example), but instead an ability to follow instructions and achieve competence or expertise in a few basic tasks is more important.

The latter type of jobs tend to be the production jobs, ie the jobs that create wealth for the nation.

If we were to have less University educated people and more people in production type jobs then we might all end up earning more???

Just a thought...

University Dropout

Posted by MJM on 9 February 2011 at 20:04

Robert. JS expressed his points very well. If you read the article he hasnt said anything that could be considered a gaff. What has happened is a bit of mischief on behalf of the journalist and the headline writer.

The entire story is built around this quote:

“There has been a terrible emphasis on people going to university; this obsession to have 50 per cent going to university,” he said.

“I think it is utterly ridiculous and the increase in tuition fees might make people think and encourage certain sections of youngsters to do something different."

Is that wrong? Of course not? It only matches the headlines if you are trying to make a point.

He didnt say it was a good thing, he just stated the facts that it will make some youngsters think about doing something that might be more suitable for them.

Oh yeah anon, i went to university during Maggies reign, it was free, I got a grant, no tuition fees and no debt, other then an overdraft.

My children went to university under Blairs government however, and had to pay £3,000 tuition fees per year.

Anyone who tries to raise the ghost of Maggie, is automatically to be assume a gibbering idiot.

Posted by steven on 8 February 2011 at 21:13

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