Modularity/ Off-Site Construction Revisited.

I would like to return to the topic of modular/off-site construction as it could impact significantly on the profession as will the introduction of artificial intellenge and robots both could create a revolution in the way plumbers operate. Interest is growing in this development as the advantages are being highlighted with a number of large companies who are beginning to invest in the process. It involves some or all of the fabrication or assembly of components being carried out within the controlled environment of the factory or workshop rather than on- site. Even though the associated costs are much the

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

The Challenges of Introducing Environmental Issues into the Skills Agenda

Dr R G Evans FCGI. Education and training must play a significant part in addressing the critical issues currently confronting the planet including those associated with the environment. These include energy, food and water shortages and the consequences of global warming, pollution control, land reclamation and over population. Clearly in spite of a number of sceptics, many people recognise the dangers of overlooking these issues. There is a growing consensus that science and technology can provide some of the solutions in addition to creating  new jobs and occupations. In spite of the current economic climate of austerity, recession and high

Skills for the Future (part2)

Read: Skills for the Future (part 1) Dick Evans continues his consideration of skills required forthe future UK economy In Part 1 I briefly explored some of the current issues associated with skills gaps and shortages and the failure by this and previous governments to tackle and resolve these long-term problems. In this piece I want to address the problem of innumeracy and low maths skills in the population and possible solutions to the problem. I, along with many other committed and enthusiastic individuals and organisations, have highlighted some of the factors involved in perpetuating low mathematical skills amongst the

Skills for the future.

Skills are still a top priority for the government, but Dick Evans questions whether the agenda is valid and asks how we can hope to solve our future skills problems. Resources, human, time and financial, continue to be expended on developing frameworks and models to address the problems of skills shortages and gaps among people already in employment and those wishing to enter employment. Turbulent times require radical decisions and strategies. But will the current efforts resolve today’s challenges and those of the future? Fallout Let’s look into the crystal ball and suppose that fallout from the financial crisis is

Skills for the Future (part1)

Dick Evans is worried about how we plan provision of education to meet future skills needs Introduction, background and scene setting This is the first part of a two part piece on skills in which I will attempt to provide the background for this important topic. I will describe the factors in play across the skills spectrum and the way the government is tackling the problem of persistent skills shortages and gaps including the continuing levels of poor numeracy in the adult population. Skills still seem to be a top priority for the government, but are the strategies and policies

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

Connecting with The World of Work

Fusing Workforce Development with Further and Higher Education. Dr Dick Evans reports on the annual UVAC conference which took place at the end of last year. Over 170 delegates in York for the 2004 annual conference of the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC). As the title suggests the central theme for the event was the crucial issue of linking the worlds of education and work. Currently this topic is high profile as a result of a number of developments including the creation of Foundation Degrees (FDs), the publication of the Tomlinson Report, the new QCA framework, the government’s skills strategy


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

Skills Shortage Update

Dr Dick Evans produced a series of articles for us on the theme of skill shortages and as a follow up we asked him to provide updates on performance. This is the third update. The debates continue apace about skills shortages with all the paradoxes and contradictions that one has come to accept from this government. The skills summits meet and regurgitate all the old theories about the causes and the supposed remedies but little seems to happen with no subsequent action or improvement. The country excels in establishing committees, committees of enquiry and focus groups, which have created numerous