EADS Chief Says U.K. Schools Should Teach Engineering Not Latin

The U.K. should start teaching engineering at schools, with qualifications available at age 16 and 18, the chief executive officer of European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co.’s British arm said.

Robin Southwell told reporters in London today that engineering courses at school could help encourage women to study the subject. Business Secretary Vince Cable is supportive of the idea, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

“It’s only when you’re applying to university that you come across engineering, and only then in specialist areas, mechanical engineering or aeronautical engineering,” Southwell said. “Encourage women and girls to get involved at an early stage. Why not? My son was asked to do Latin. What a stupid, stupid thing. I’d drop Latin and do engineering. That would have a better effect creating value.”

Southwell said there was also a shortage of aeronautical engineering university courses, meaning that he struggled to recruit as many people as he wanted. He said EADS runs the largest U.K. engineering apprenticeship course at its Broughton, Wales plant, where it makes wings for Airbus SAS planes.

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