The Times reports that Sir James Dyson’s plans for a national engineering academy were thrown out by the government in favour of a rival scheme by a Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones saying that it would receive “more positive national publicity”.
The inventor, famous for his bagless vacuum cleaners, has separately accused John Denham, the skills secretary who announced Jones’s success, of neglecting Britain’s dire need for qualified engineers for reasons of spin.
Dyson, whose charitable foundation spent £3.5m preparing his bid for an engineering academy in Bath, was turned down last autumn for government funding in favour of Jones’s idea for an institution to teach entrepreneurship.
I agree with James Dyson’s assessment that Britain which had been at the forefront of innovation for centuries lost its way following World War II and marketing began to replace engineering as the foundation of the British economy.
It is style over substance.
That’s not to say that Peter Jones’s scheme is style over substance as entrepreneurship is a valuable skill-set to impart to young people. However we need a greater number engineers in this country and we need to value them more highly so that we have groundbreaking new inventions around which the newly minted entrepreneurs can build businesses.