In explaining German productivity, the focus is often on apprenticeships, as if it were the skills and knowledge of an apprentice that make the difference (“ Germans show how to tackle the puzzle of productivity”, October 23). But what counts is the ability to solve technical problems rapidly and with robust solutions.

Germany’s productivity improvement is based on having a high quality “buffer” of skills around key business processes, with the ability and authority to make changes to improve those self-same processes. At individual level, the application and deployment of technical skills are more effective in Germany; also, the flow of talented school leavers into technical roles is greater than in the UK. The UK’s focus on higher education and university access does not necessarily build a strong, sustainable economy.

Dr Michael Cross
Director, Rezatec,
Harwell, Oxon, UK

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