Friday, January 11, 2013

Thanks---you have helped me to 58,000 hits!

Thank you to all of my many readers. I know my blogging is only small-time compared to those who number their readers in the millions. (Mine is only about 58,000 as of January 12, 20134)  I think that what I enjoy most is the fact that so many people from numerous nations are reading the blogs.

I know that much of what I say is a bit controversial and sometimes written when I am pissed off about an issue (for example---the on-going, ‘forever’ debate about ‘gun laws in the USA). I know that my words can offend, but if it stimulates debate, then all is well. I have to admit that I deliberately go out on a ledge in order to stimulate that debate a bit like a ‘devil’s advocate.’ It is interesting to note that people don’t make comments on my blog, but they do where I have ‘pasted’ the debate to Facebook.

Help me to get my blog out there even more, by sending the link to your contacts. Yes, if that helps me sell some of my books, I owe you a big thank you. However, that is not what has happened. I have made virtually no sales that way. It’s a hard yacker, trying to sell self-published books! I think I have to get my books on Amazon etc. If you can pass on my website that would be great too.

Don’t forget (especially if you are in NZ and Australia, local libraries may have my books, so ask them and they may buy them. Just a reminder—all you need is the title and my name.

1)    Coastal Yarns  by Neil Coleman

2)    Roskill  by Neil Coleman

3)    Talk To Me  by Neil Coleman


Pass them on and ask for them at your library----Better still, buy them from me.


Student loans in New Zealand. Could someone please explain!

The figures used in for Student Loans in the Herald today seem almost beyond belief. That someone can owe One million Dollars by 2040, all for quite a small initial ‘loan’ seems quite ridiculous. If the figures quoted are true, one only needs to extrapolate that and we would have a generation (or more) of citizens who see no reason to ‘try’ to pay back the ballooning loan.

The ‘loan’ as reported is reason enough to take a long hard look at the system of student loans in New Zealand. There has to be a better and fairer way. We do not want a generation of angry, hopeless students going on to spend their whole lives paying back the loans.

I have heard other examples of course, whereby students have found high- paying holiday jobs and managed to avoid the whole process of the student loan debacle. I would say that’s almost the same as saying that---‘Hey, I’m a multi-millionaire, so if I can do it, anyone can.’ Those jobs quoted do exist but not in the numbers needed to allow students to have no or very small loans.

We often see young people pointing the finger at those of us who came through a kinder regime saying, ---- ‘You guys had it easy. You virtually received your tertiary education free, so don’t tell us we are selfish.’ There is quite a ring of truth about that statement. The only difference was that back then, it was actually harder to gain entry to a university education.

The term ‘tertiary’ has expanded and now covers a far wider spread of entry requirements as the ‘Industry’ has ramped up to put ‘bums on seats,’ for funding purposes. Successive government have encouraged this, may I say somewhat cynically, for reasons of disguising youth unemployment as much as a real need for a better skilled and changing workforce.

We must review the whole system and employ the age old method of ‘bonding’ young (and older) learners so that the State pays the majority of their education and then receives a varying amount of time spent in NZ as a return. (A combination of both systems may even work.) That time would depend on the amount spent for the education. It would also break the current trend for the ‘richer’ to achieve those higher paying and traditionally difficult to attain qualifications, like being a doctor or lawyer. Teaching was a good example of ‘bonding.’ Bring it back.

Apprentices in the old sense of the word were more often than not ‘trained on the job,’ with a component of the training undertaken in short ‘block courses.’ Nurse training was also undertaken in a similar way, but I would be the first to admit that the complexity of modern nursing now demands a higher level of training; one that is primarily achieved through our well set up tertiary institutions.

Businesses seem to have shied away from the old fashioned ‘learn as you work’ approach. They say they are too busy to do that now. The plumbers, builders and other trades, all seem to be trained in technical institutes now. There have been attempts to play around the edges re training ‘tradespeople,’ but would it not be a good idea to return to that which we know worked well? It would take a mind shift on the part of prospective trainers/businesses though.

In the end it is all about money and the willingness of employers to take on young people and nurture them. If we wish to have a skilled and happy workforce, we all need to think about where we are going and not leave it all to the politicians to fiddle while ‘Rome burns.’ It is step-up time.’