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Thread: The Steam Train has left the station.

  1. #1 The Steam Train has left the station. 
    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    Mr Tony Shepherd, PRESIDENT of Business Council of Australia, has an article in todays Herald Sun. ( 15th Feb. 2012. Melbourne, Australia ). He talks about the need to fire up Industries Boilers, our workforce, read those with a proper job, need to become ultra efficient, increase their productivity, compete in overseas markets. We need to train more apprentices. etc etc.
    My questions; Where are we going to train these apprentices? In China? So that they can take up a position in China? To supply Australia with Goods and Services?

    If the Banks are our friends, my interpretation of where he is coming from, why are They Hell bent in creating mass unemployment?

    Mr. Shepherd, where have you been since 1980? So Australia could maintain it's standard of living, we stopped manufacturing nuts and bolts and shovels and picks and tools and pistons for motor cars and irragation pumps and valves and etc etc.... I know, because I made them.
    Mr Shepherd, I don't wish to be disrepectful, but please do not write articles along those lines. Don't dance the Modern Waltze around important issues, you are coming across as a person who is more concerned with how the Share Holders are going to make out if we, the workers, don't take our finger out. There is no point in continually raising dead horses to gallop ahead. The truth is there's only a little bit of petrol left in the tank, and the Democracy that we purport to practice in this Country is , and has been for decades, sacrificed to Multi- Nationals whose Boardrooms are overseas. The Steam Train has left the Station mr. Shepherd.....westwind.


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  3. #2  
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    This belongs in politics, methinks.


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  4. #3  
    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    whatever. westwind.
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  5. #4  
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    Something similar in the US - apparently there's a crying need for machinists in my area. But there's no way to train them on the job, apparently, and of course the union apprentice programs no longer exist, and the tech schools are both expensive and inadequate - they spend half their time on remedial arithmetic, and can't afford the high end machinery or tooling that industry needs the skill to handle - so there's this odd scramble that ends up with a bunch of tech school grads hauling their $10,000 student loans around to temp jobs deburring parts on the night shift. Fact is you need a couple of years on the job to do the job, and who's going to pay for that?

    On TV I'm seeing interviews with German machinist trainees - they start at age 16, training on excellent equipment in actual industrial plants, half days during school. By 19 they have three years in and a ready grasp of the arithmetic etc, with programming experience and time hanging around with master machinists, and a guaranteed job all along.

    Meanwhile it seems like every shop in my town is running their machinists 50-60 hours a week, to get the work done, and that leads to various problems including quality issues - - - -

    The good news is that anyone with the skill can not only pick up solid older equipment pretty cheaply (sold by the high school high end shop classes, when the high schools phased out their metalworking programs), but can often connect with local shops for contract work out of their garage.

    The bad news is they are still losing machinists to age and innovation faster than the new blood can negotiate the hurdles. And with each year's loss of available skill, they come closer to the tipping point after which the resources go away as well - the tooling dealers, the machine repairmen, the parts and supply shops, the synergistic community of skill and mutual acquaintanceship and odd pieces of gear lying around in the corners.

    This can't last, and would have to be rehabbed from the ground up - years to pay off.
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  6. #5  
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    On TV I'm seeing interviews with German machinist trainees - they start at age 16, training on excellent equipment in actual industrial plants, half days during school. By 19 they have three years in and a ready grasp of the arithmetic etc, with programming experience and time hanging around with master machinists, and a guaranteed job all along.
    And that's part of the issue in the US. There's enormous pressure on High Schools to meet the "one size fits all" No child left behind standards, which combined with dramatics cuts at the State and Local levels has eliminated thousands of vocational and trades opportunity programs from those schools.

    I am surprised the shortage is that dire though--hundred of community colleges offer programs and there's still billions available in aid.
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    Forum Freshman Lander_Greys's Avatar
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    "one size fits all" No child left behind standards
    An entire generation brainwashed into thinking they need to make millions instead of enjoying what they do... Sad really.
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    I am surprised the shortage is that dire though--hundred of community colleges offer programs and there's still billions available in aid.
    That's where the night shift deburring crew is coming from.

    Probably the most serious obstacle - aside from the uncertainty cost, which is borne completely by the student

    (adults are expected to borrow tens of thousands of dollars in debt they cannot ever even file bankruptcy on, invest thousands of hours of their time, and arrange their whole lives for years, to possibly acquire a skill completely new to them on the chance that years from now a local manufacturing plant will hire them for reasonable money in a job they don't hate)

    is the cost of medical insurance. Employers looking at taking on a bunch of new employees for the two or three years it will take to get the two or three loyal and successful ones up to speed have to pay a fortune for medical on all of them.

    One of the workarounds that is becoming common is to arrange matters with a temp agency, so all new machinist employees are training in as "temporary workers" (for years) without benefits etc. That can work if the employer then actually trains in the temps - more often, the immediate need for night shift deburring and the like takes over and never goes away (it's either the temp or a very expensive machinist, every time the issue arises).

    So that is the prospect facing the adult who is contemplating trade school for machinist work. And that is in the new situation, when the crisis has been recognized - up until very recently, things were percolating along just fine as far as the corporate management was concerned.

    There's enormous pressure on High Schools to meet the "one size fits all" No child left behind standards, which combined with dramatics cuts at the State and Local levels has eliminated thousands of vocational and trades opportunity programs from those schools.
    No Child Left Behind is very recent - the money for trade education in the high schools went away before it came along. The big cuts started in the '80s (high schools, trade schools, and notably the busting of union apprenticeship programs) and it's the subsequent generation of machinists - they would be in their thirties to mid forties now - that went missing.
    Last edited by iceaura; February 17th, 2012 at 07:46 PM.
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  9. #8  
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    I am surprised the shortage is that dire though--hundred of community colleges offer programs and there's still billions available in aid.
    I'm not. If 'community colleges' offer programs anything like the TAFE (Training and Further Education) programs here, they're really pushing it uphill. The big problem is maths teaching - or the lack of it - in primary and early high school years. I've tutored several mid-late teens trying to manage such not-quite-an-apprenticeship programs in various trades. All of them struggle desperately with simple algebra - mainly because they can't manage fractions or even the concept of decimals - percentages are an impenetrable mystery. If you can't manipulate simple algebra equations you really, truly cannot qualify as an electrician.

    Most of them also have poor reading comprehension. Getting to grips with safety regulations or operating instructions is a real trial. None of this is about deep learning or profound understanding. It's about arithmetic skills, including fractions. And literacy good enough to extract the meaning of questions for problem solving. All of which should be well in hand by year 5. Straightforward algebra at years 7-9 should be merely a process of building on the basics.

    Here, it wasn't the unions who ran the apprenticeship programs. It was the employers - with government grants or subsidies to top up the costs. It wasn't as though apprentices earned very much anyway. But at least they finished up with good jobs and good wages at the end of their indenture.
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  10. #9  
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    U R Rite (and there is part of the problem)

    Wayne
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  11. #10  
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    There is just too much focus on getting that college degree. You either have a degree or you're not a person. So, what you see in college nowadays is a large number of students wasting their parent's money to study liberal arts degrees, so ... at least they'll have a degree and count as a human being. Nevermind that the degree is all but utterly useless to the economy, and once they have that degree in hand, manual labor is beneath them. After all they worked hard to get it and therefore feel entitled to some kind of office job.

    It's good that at least some people understand that, if "skilled labor" means a college degree, then increasing our "skilled labor" isn't going to save the economy. It might worsen it. If all we have is doctors, then who will build cars?
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  12. #11  
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    There may have been downward pressure on vocational support, but below is a pretty clear indicator of what value our NCLB puts on the types of vocational training that keeps us actually doing stuff. If you put your money into almost exclusively college bound and special education (gift aren't' recognized by fed gov) and neglect vocational training--you get this:
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