Demoralised prods: education

Kelly turns to education. He suggests:

“Working-class Protestants have never had much esteem for educational qualifications, nor for much of the last century did they require them: a trade was thought best, and-given the unabashed sectarianism within the north’s major industries-it came easy. This economic prop has since been kicked away by the decline of traditional employers such as Short’s aircraft factory and the shipbuilder Harland & Woolf.”

Billy Hutchinson on the effects of a shrinking heavy industry:

“‘Long gone are the days when Uncle Sammy got you a job in the shipyard.’ Harland & Woolf once employed 20,000 men, now it is barely 400, and increasingly it appears more interested in developing its Queen’s Island site for ‘commercial and entertainment purposes.’ Can information technology replace heavy industry as the mass employer of east Belfast Prods? Hutchinson is dubious: ‘High-tech jobs usually mean employing people with degrees. Most of the people who will lose their jobs at the shipyard are welders and joiners.'”

To David Ervine, the priorities are clear:

“‘Education, education, education.’ Catholics cottoned on to this some years ago. While Protestants took up their guaranteed apprenticeships, Catholics saw qualifications as their escape from poverty. The consequences of those respective attitudes are clear to McGimpsey in the Lower Shankill. ‘Kids round here don’t go to school,’ he says. ‘Or if they do, they don’t bother. But Catholic kids are getting their A-levels and going to university. They’re writing poetry, and our kids are painting graffiti on the walls.'”

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