Howard Blake attended King Henry the Eighth Grammar school for boys in Coventry between 1953 and 1957. When he left school aged 16 he started work in Alfred Herbert’s offices on a commercial apprenticeship. Howard was one of the seven students to study for an HND in Industrial Marketing in 1962 sponsored by Alfred Herbert’s. In the extract below he discusses the relationship between Coventry’s automotive industry and education:
Hilary: Ehm, so whose decision was it that you would go on this H-N-D course to Lanchester?
Howard: It was the firm, all the way through the firm, the education system at the time, the post school education within Coventry was very strongly influenced if not financed, was very strongly influenced by the then top ten manufacturing main, well the top ten manufacturing companies. […] And the, the college would have created a Higher National Diploma in Industrial Marketing or Cost Accounting with total support of the local engineering companies, it might have even come the other way. The lecturers might have said we want it and so therefore these colleges are yes we’re going to do this course, they mention so and so, this is the structure of the course let us know if you have any bright applicants. The minimum application is to get either an O-N-C, credits in all subjects and they must have a an O-level, I think it was maths. And then they would turn around and see what people fitted the criteria. […]
Hilary: So did you have to go in was there set hours? Was there classes?
Howard: It was very much like a school. It wasn’t, it wasn’t how I imagined a genuine university education because you, it was very much like a school. We did it in total eight or nine subjects, Costing Theory, Costing Practice, Finance, Accounting, Law, Economic History, Mathematics and it was quite a miscellany of subjects, so it was a bit like school and you got a general feeling about a general commercial awareness. In other words, if you were having a problem you could look in the textbook to find the answer. And ehm, and it was very much nine till four thirty, whatever, nine till five.