College days a (c) poem by Kevin Jones 2021.
My first post school education was at the local “Tech”- that’s the short name we gave it,
The proper name was Walsall College of Arts and Technology – shortened, you see, quite a bit.
The college trained people with artisan type skills,
Electricians, Plumbers, Chefs, all were hard courses without any frills.
To pass the course you had to spend the time – at least one day and night,
Then an exam at the end – you prayed you got it right.
To redo a course would break your heart and could set your career back,
If attainment was linked to your job you could even face getting the sack.
There were no “quick win” courses you had to make the grade,
So on a cold winter’s night it showed up those who would fade.
But the college turned out thousands of traders – vital to what we need,
All those now qualified with their tools a family they can feed.
The “Tech” was based where Tesco is located today,
A building with extensions on to meet the needs of local industry in play.
I saw the first CNC machining at the college one afternoon,
You could see that the role of general machinists would be under threat very soon.
Whatever major trade you could think of was taught at this place of learning,
Some wonderful lecturers and academics – recruitment was quite discerning.
So why did it change and become something on a different course?
Simply, the government of the time wanted a University educated workforce.
This policy has proven to be slightly off skew,
You need people at all levels that are respected for what they do.
This has proven to be right when Covid-19 reached our shores,
It was people at all levels that operated vital services whilst most others isolated indoors.