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Qualifications: creating or chasing jobs?

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal the qualifications divide between different parts of England. Subsequent comment has focussed on almost half of people in London (46.7%) holding a degree or similar qualification compared with under a third (28.6%) in areas like the north-east. The percentage in London was considerably higher than in … Continue reading Qualifications: creating or chasing jobs?

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Apprenticeships: still not a real alternative for young people.

Some eight years after David Cameron  promised 3 million more, apprenticeships have failed to provide real opportunities for all but a few of those young people not able to or not wanting to continue to higher education. This, rather than a 'skills crisis' is the real reason for the introduction of yet another full-time vocational … Continue reading Apprenticeships: still not a real alternative for young people.

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With Millennials voting, things can only get better?

While most people accept that data from recent general elections show young people unlikely to vote Tory. https://www.britishelectionstudy.com/bes-findings/age-and-voting-behaviour-at-the-2019-general-election/#.Y7KwWyjMJOg It has also been argued that political sympathies are likely to change with age. The popular press  continues to bang on about ‘generation gaps’, while pollsters have reported big shifts in allegiance amongst more elderly voters in … Continue reading With Millennials voting, things can only get better?

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Towards a new ‘general intellect’.

A lot has been written about the potential of digital technology and AI to ‘upskill’ the workforce and raise standards of living, but as previous posts have argued, there’s little sign the ‘knowledge economy’ has developed in the way its advocates expected.  Digitalisation and AI have indeed become integral to new types of production. But … Continue reading Towards a new ‘general intellect’.

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Filling (or digging?) a ‘black hole’

With the economy slipping into recession, (by all accounts maybe the longest ever), you’d think it would be generally accepted that at the very least, as even right-wing Tory Ian Duncan-Smith acknowledged on TV at the weekend, a bit of ‘Keynesian’ public spending is necessary, if only to stop things getting significantly worse. But paving … Continue reading Filling (or digging?) a ‘black hole’

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Background paper for NEU post-16 Conference

                                                 Education without jobs? Martin Allen ‘Post-16’ education’ is a relatively new concept. Fifty years ago, 40 % of working class[i] students left school without any significant qualifications (many of these being ‘early leavers’ with no grades in anything).  At that time, there were clear transitions to local employment, especially for the boys. Though … Continue reading Background paper for NEU post-16 Conference

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Books Reviews – Whatever happened to the ‘Knowledge Economy’?

Over the last decade, several publications have provided uncompromising accounts of how technological progress will reshape economy and society. These changes (it has been claimed) have constituted either a Second Machine Age (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014)  or  a Fourth Industrial Revolution (Schwab, 2017). While authors have been aware of the potential social upheavals resulting from … Continue reading Books Reviews – Whatever happened to the ‘Knowledge Economy’?

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PSE journal article. ‘A difficult summer for 18-year-olds’

It was a difficult summer for thousands of 18-year olds completing their post-16 education in either school sixth-forms or colleges. Arguably, this cohort had to endure more stress and uncertainty than the previous ‘Covid generation’ - when exams were cancelled and work was teacher-assessed. Read the article in full and download others from PSE issue … Continue reading PSE journal article. ‘A difficult summer for 18-year-olds’

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As Neo-liberal factions slug it out, how do we pay for energy and public services?

Recent days have seen two factions of Neo-liberalism going head-to-head in a bruising encounter, with mainstream Neo-liberalism moving quickly to crush a rebellious (and even more right wing) tendency led by Prime Minister Truss and Chancellor Kwarteng.  Mainstream Neo-liberalism ( in the UK, also referred to as ‘Treasury Orthodoxy’ and most recently associated with defeated … Continue reading As Neo-liberal factions slug it out, how do we pay for energy and public services?

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Think what £65 billion could be spent on!

With the pound still falling, the Bank of England has used its inflation mandate to restart Quantitative Easing – a process that, at least until a few days ago was being slowly reversed.  QE involves the Bank buying  government debt – mostly gilts –from private and institutional investors.  Of course, technically, QE doesn’t reduce the … Continue reading Think what £65 billion could be spent on!