AS someone who failed his 11-Plus but ended up as a senior manager in a global business employing 1,500 people, I am in a position to comment on the recent letters on today’s education system.

No-one in their right mind would deny the value of a good education, however, I agree with Miss Towers (The Cumberland News letters, October 15) that today’s view that “only university will do” is flawed and does not produce good value for money for the country or a lot of graduating students.

It feels like an ever increasing percentage of the university system has become a cash generator for the people that run them.

I take exception to the view of Mr Cruddace (The Cumberland News letters, November 5) that the value of an apprenticeship is very low. The business I ran was powered by a lot of very competent, dedicated and well-paid people who came through the apprentice system.

He clearly places no value on the people who keep the essential services like supermarkets, transport, energy, systems operating.

Mr Cruddace needs to explain how we are to become a net zero economy without vast numbers of people with the practical skills to totally change our energy systems, install heat pumps and insulate our homes.


THE essentially elitist letter by Mr Cruddace (The Cumberland News, November 5) makes the writer more of an “old colonial” than Tony Blair’s critics: he sniffs at “menial, low-paid, dead-end jobs” – but apparently has no objection that they were what “our EU workers used to do”.

It is easy to have a rosy glow about the 1950s, when most youths could not wait to get out into the adult world at 14 or 15 to start contributing to the family income as an indentured employee learning on the job – and there was no shortage of career opportunities.

You did not need a “uni” qualification to work in “retail”.

It is noteworthy that the woke brigade have recently turned their attention to a son of Langholm, one Thomas Telford, as deserving of inquisition and potential cancellation, as the progenitor of climate change, rather than the Industrial Revolution, his previous claim to fame which has him (against his wishes) interred with the great and the good in Westminster Abbey.

Not bad for a Langholm lad born in a shepherd’s cottage up the valley, whose academic education ceased the day he became a stonemason’s apprentice. Yet he appreciated booklearning to the extent he endowed Langholm and Bentpath libraries.

As John Ball, a leader of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, observed in the opening words of his revolutionary sermon: “When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?”