Charles tells Repair Shop lack of schools vocational education ‘a great tragedy’
The King has said “not everybody is designed for the academic” and labelled the lack of vocational education in schools a “great tragedy” during a special edition of The Repair Shop.
Presenter Jay Blades and the team visited Dumfries House in Scotland for a one-off episode to mark the BBC’s centenary filmed when Charles was still the Prince of Wales.
In The Repair Shop: A Royal Visit, Charles needs help with an 18th-century bracket clock and a piece made for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee by British ceramics maker Wemyss Ware.
He said the damaged 19th century ceramic piece fell over when someone was opening a window – “they didn’t own up”, he joked.
Speaking about his love of clocks, the royal added: “To me I just love the sound, the tick tock but also if they chime, that’s why I love grandfather clocks.
“I find it rather reassuring in a funny way and they become really special parts of the house… the beating heart of it. So that’s why they matter to me.
“I’m afraid it is something I learnt from my grandmother, she had great fun putting a few together and trying to get them to chime at the same time in the dining room, which made it very enjoyable because everybody had to stop talking.”
In the episode, Charles meets students from the Prince’s Foundation Building Craft Programme – a training initiative that teaches traditional skills such as blacksmithing, stonemasonry and wood carving.
The monarch said: “I still think the great tragedy is the lack of vocational education in schools, actually not everybody is designed for the academic.
“I know from The Prince’s Trust, I have seen the difference we can make to people who have technical skills which we need all the time, I have the greatest admiration for people.
“I think that’s been the biggest problem, sometimes that is forgotten. Apprenticeships are vital but they just abandoned apprenticeships for some reason.
“It gives people intense satisfaction and reward.”
Charles said the thing he “really loves” is students returning as tutors year after year – “filling the school gaps”, he said.
Blades and ceramics expert Kirsten Ramsay, horologist Steve Fletcher and furniture restorer Will Kirk set out to repair the King’s clock and ceramics in the episode.
Before the results are unveiled, Charles asks the crew: “Have you sorted this? The suspense is killing me.”
The monarch also lends Prince’s Foundation graduate Jeremy Cash to The Repair Shop to work with metalwork expert Dominic Chinea on a third item described as a fire set in the shape of a soldier with a poignant story behind its existence.
The Repair Shop: A Royal Visit will air on Wednesday at 8pm on BBC One.