Roy,

In my opinion qualifications - i.e degree or no degree is not the issue - we need to get away from that 'old fashioned' thinking. Eventually all trained technicians will have or should have a degree or degree equivalent qualifications that satisy everybody concerned. It's not about experience versus qualifications anymore - it should be about having the same level of skills and competences based on the training you've received fullstop.

Whether the training started out with a degree and developed experience and skills (possibly academic route) or whether it started out as a hands-on experience and skills being practised and ended up with an academic qualification (the vocational route). Both equivalent - no arguments. The training needs of, initially, degree qualified and those of non-degree qualified entrants being satisfied and competence proven at the end of training.

I think we have to admit that most departments' training is simply not up to it for various reasons. A 'Lack of resources' and 'no requirement to provide structured training to a nationally accepted standard' are convenient terms that must be forcing managers to go for the cheapest option every time in my opinion.