Ask Ed Balls what went wrong. I’m sure it’ll all be the fault of the Tories for their disastrous 13 years out of power.
Sir Mike Rake said the telecoms giant binned almost a quarter of all applications made for a new apprenticeship scheme because candidates appeared “completely illiterate”.
Many young people now fail to have the basic skills needed to get by in the workplace, he said.
The comments represent the latest in a series of attacks on the education system by Britain’s leading businessmen.
Sir Terry Leahy, outgoing chief executive of Tesco, has criticised the “woefully low” standards achieved by many schoolchildren and Sir Stuart Rose, head of Marks & Spencer, said many young people were “not fit for work”.
Sir Mike said 26,000 applications were made for 170 places on BT’s apprenticeship programme starting this autumn, but 6,000 were not worthy of consideration.
I actually feel really sorry for kids who’ve been through the state education system in the last 20 years. Its parlous inadequacy is the single biggest betrayal of British people in my living memory.
Oh and sure, Labour didn’t fix things, but neither did the Tories. The rot set in long before 1997, thanks to a vast tranche of swivel-eyed ideologues in the teaching profession, the objectives of whom were not to equip children for lifelong learning and inquisitiveness, but to effect social engineering on a scale unheard of outside communist countries.
Still, when I left school, men of 50 were being thrown on the scrapheap as flexibly, hungry youngsters emerged to work in a way more fitting to the times.
If the education system continues to turn out such stunted individuals, I foresee no such worries for when I’m 50 myself.