In this article Dick Evans provides thoughts on Apprenticeships – Past, Present and Future At last it has been accepted that the work-based route within the national qualifica . tion framework is important and an essential element to tackling skill shortages. A whole series of developments are now in place including vocational/applied GCSEs and the reforms to the apprenticeship schemes. One critically important element of these initiatives is the proposed extension and refinement of the frameworks for apprenticeships. The government has announced a significant expansion in numbers for the existing apprenticeship programmes as well as an extension both for younger


Richard Evans is the Chairman of the CIPHE’s Education and Training Group. In this issue, Richard covers the issues surrounding Information Technologies Communications (ITCs). Currently there is a great debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the ITCs particularly with retrieving information from the internet. I would like to explore some of the issues as they relate to education and in particular to teaching and learning. I fully accept that there are many advantages associated with such technologies. However it is essential that the disadvantages must be acknowledged and recognised by teachers and the learners. Evidence from a number of

Artificial Intelligence and Plumbing

I want to return to the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the possible consequences on the plumbing profession. Commentators continue to offer their ideas on the impact of AI and the introduction of robots. Their views span a wide spectrum ranging from significant to less significant consequences. It is a fascinating but complex topic particularly as it relates to practical and trade professions. Alan Turin articulated his ideas when laying the foundations of computing and information technology. His question about the limits of the introduction of robots is fundamental and commentators still attempt to address the possible answers. Robots


One of the topics discussed at a recent meeting of the Education Training Group (ETG) was Assessment of Prior Learning (APL). It arose from discussions on the important issue of recognising experienced workers who have (for many reasons) not gained formal qualifications. These individuals represent a significant part of the plumbing profession, and as a result play an essential role in professional application of their skills and knowledge in the services they provide to their employers and the public. They have gained this expertise over many years. Many would have been apprentices and entered employment some years ago when entry to

Attracting the Best

Getting enough young people to study maths after the age of 16, and then increasing the number of maths students who take up engineering and manufacturing at higher levels is a strategic issue for the UK, as Dick Evans reports Engineering is vital to economic health, especially in industries such as energy, ecology, defence and security. Many more engineering graduates will be required in future, including increased numbers of incorporated engineers and engineering technicians. How can the best students be recruited to engineering programmes? There are longstanding concerns about the number of young people studying maths post-16 and those studying degree programmes

Bridges to Understanding

Scientists, educators and the media must span the chasm of public confusion –Dick Evans. Recent high profile media coverage of science and technology issues has yet again highlighted the urgent need to consider ways of raising the J general understanding and awareness of science and technology. Typical examples of these issues concern: the health benefits or otherwise of drinking red wine, tea, coffee; the questions associated with animal husbandry and food production, for example BSE and the GM crop trials; the dangers of using mobile phones; and the ethics of bio-sciences. Too often the general population is confused with contradictory

Building Foundations

The key Government agendas in education and training are standards, skills and widening participation. How will they be realised? FE College Principal, Dick Evans, looks at the new building blocks. The Government has set an objective that half of all young people should benefit from higher education by the age of thirty. The belief is that once standards in schools and colleges are raised, they then expect to see a significant increase in the demand for places in higher education. Raised levels of achievement will inevitably raise expectation by students to progress on to HE programmes of study. This additional

Chinese Food

“To the people, food is foremost” “To the ruler, people are heaven; to the people, food is heaven”. “Every home must have firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar and tea”. “Food is the first necessity”. Confucius. Above are four classic sayings about the importance of food in the Chinese culture. Food is embedded in the Chinese culture and many philosophers, emperors and writers have extolled the importance of food as an indispensable part of Chinese life. The preoccupation with food is reflected in the spoken language, for example one of the most commonly heard questions to begin a discussion

Chinese Languages

Introduction The word’s languages are all thought to belong to five major language families namely Indo- European, Sino-Tibetan, Niger-Congo, Afro-Asiatic and Austonesian. Chinese in one form or another, is spoken by more people worldwide than any other language. It is the world’s oldest language still in use and its cultural history can be traced back over 3,500 years. It is a fascinating and at times a complex topic and I hope I can do justice to the subject in this short account. There are scores of Chinese dialects, and although many are related sound so different that a speaker of

Chinese Money

The history of Chinese money is another fascinating topic covering a period of over 3000 years. The present currency is known as the people’s currency namely the re(2)min(2)bi(4). It assumed that the name since 1949 and is the legal tender on the Chinese mainland but not in Hong Kong and Macau.The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau use the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca, respectively. The basic unit of the currency is the yuan(2)) which derives from yuan(2) which means round after the shape of the coins. One tenth of the yuan is often called a