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Could be worse.  Could be the US.  We've been dismantling skilled and semi-skilled trades and their training programs for a half-century.  When I last worked in a factory 35 years ago, I was the only one of my generation with any machining skills.  We weren't training anyone because everyone was going to sit behind a desk in a FIRE industry.  It's a lot worse now.  We'd have to import piles of people in order to get manufacturing off the ground, and that ain't happening.
by rifek on Sun Jun 26th, 2016 at 03:27:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ordinarily, one would expect a £ devaluation to help the UK manufacturing sector and give them a competitive advantage relative to imports.  However if that sector is as decimated as you and others suggest then you have all the disadvantages of devaluation - importing inflation etc., and none of the advantages.  It will be pensioners and workers on relatively fixed incomes who will bear the brunt - rising costs of living with no compensating increases in income.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 26th, 2016 at 04:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'd have to import piles of people in order to get manufacturing off the ground.
This is simply not true. There may well be a problem of scale, but many tailored instruction programs that provide exactly the needed skills have been set up in a number of areas, including my current town of Mountain Home. The community college, ASUMH, has specialist programs in welding that supply capable welders to local boat manufacturers, including Ranger Boats, a national leader in fishing boats. Required skills include heliarc welding for aluminum boats. They have also set up a training facility with a modern, computer diagnostic system, for auto techs. There is a strong robotics program in the middle and secondary schools, supplemented by many offerings at ASUMH, and programs for nursing, which graduates are always in demand in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes here and country wide. We could benefit from federal investment starting with grants instead of loans for tuition, books and living expenses. And grants to states for use in building and running new research facilities at universities would be a great help.

I agree that we have hollowed out our manufacturing base. But that could quickly be turned around with different trade policies and federal support for new manufacturing start-ups. What is most critically needed is to downsize finance back to between a tenth and a fifth of its present size and regulation to prevent financial sector criminality and looting. The latter would largely take care of the former. The result would be like a 30% tax cut on our society.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2016 at 05:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Glad Idaho is doing something, but if they're just teaching heliarc/GTAW (That's TIG for all you Euros.), that isn't fixing things, because all GTAW is good for is thin aluminum, not the industrial applications we need.  Our list of shortages is extensive: tool-and-die, machinists, fitters, pattern makers, metal workers, electricians, plumbers, etc., etc., etc.  Areas I'm familiar with or have connections in (Washington, Oregon, Midwest, Northeast) have their programs racing the wrong way.  Here in Utah we have a sick joke.  They set up tech centers that are supposed to train trades, but the administration just got sacked for gaming the system by pushing people to certifications no one needs and the students weren't really qualified for.  Meanwhile they want to convert our last community college, which still offers tech programs, to a four-year school.  Just what we need, more bachelors degrees.
by rifek on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 12:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is Arkansas and not Idaho, and they are teaching heliarc because that is what local manufacturers need. Other welding besides. Seems we also have a national shortage of certified welders. Here the actually consult with local manufacturers and businesses before deciding what to set up and get programs that train workers for available jobs. That is critical in Arkansas as we have one of the lowest rates of 4 year degrees to the population size.

Other programs I have seen featured on news programs or in articles describe similar approaches in rust belt locations. This is not an insoluable problem now. Wait until the people with the knowledge die out and it will be. We have retired tool and die makers locally - for now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 12:57:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, wrong Mountain Home.  Anyway, definitely a shortage of welders and every other skilled trade (and I mean actually skilled, not just holding a piece of paper from some for-profit diploma mill).
by rifek on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 05:26:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The certificates are from for credit courses at Arkansas State University Mountain Home.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 1st, 2016 at 10:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I know of the UK, the problem may be deeper than a lack of skilled workers and appropriate training and certification processes.  When I worked in management in the UK I was shocked at the disdain in which people who actually made things - real things - were held.  The guys who were good at power point presentations - marketeers, accountants, strategists, consultants, lawyers etc. - were held in high regard.  But the managers who were good at motivating others, team builders, who mucked in when some disaster happened were held  in contempt.  They were't really made up of the right stuff...The trick was to move on before the sh!t hit the fan.

There is a huge class divide in the UK between manual, skilled and "knowledge workers". Industrial firms have been asset stripped and leveraged out of business.  Industrial areas have been gutted. Sure, some smaller family businesses have survived, but lack ambition, capacity and capital to expand even if demand for their products expand.  It simply isn't sexy. It's what the kids who were considered dumb in school do.  Factory work is what you are threatened with if you don't do your homework at school.

So my guess would be that reviving English industrial regions and manufacturing more generally will take a long time, and a lot more than better training courses.  Sure, there are some (often foreign owned) manufacturing businesses like Vauxhall, BMW and Tata, but overall, Manufacturing has declined as a share of GDP and employment levels and investment in R&D is lower than in other OECD competitors.  Some of these located in the UK primarily because of England's access to the Single Market.

The bottom line, manufacturing is unlikely to come to the rescue of England's economy, even with a prolonged devaluation of the £.  The English economy is driven by the City, and it is financial services which are the easiest to relocate to another jurisdiction.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 09:05:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not limited to manufacturing, it's Management v Employees everywhere. In my company (IT multinational), the employees forum and union voices from the 'continent' are continually amazed at how negative and adversarial the relationship is in the UK.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 02:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tata aren't going to be there much longer. They attempted to close down all their steel mills because they couldn't compete with cheaper chinese steel (which only comes into EU cos UK govt vetoed tariffs).

The indifference of the govt was such that the Industry minister initially refused to fly back from a junket in Australia when the closures were announced.

Now that a rescue package has been put together it is entirely dependent on access to EU markets and finance, both of which are now in danger.

It's a total mess.

The exit side always talked about UK exports, but they were mostly financial services, which are dependent on being inside the EU. We don't make anything anymore, Thatcher saw to that.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 03:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uppity cliques are a big thing in Britain, I reckon. Managers, owners, financiers...

Once in a London(?) hotel, I was met with unveiled condensation why I didn't pay for a better room. And cashiers in a cheap supermarket were ridiculously slow, as if to give "adequate" service to unvashed masses (and ignorant visitors like me).

by das monde on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 at 07:00:41 PM EST
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England trying to take away the reputation that for so long Paris had?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 28th, 2016 at 01:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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