Learning for life: educational provision at Cadbury, 1831-1981
Cadbury showed concern for the welfare of its labour force in a variety of ways and not least in the provision of educational and educative-recreational facilities. The firm regarded the education of employees as having a positive effect on the efficiency of the business at the same time as being of benefit to the individual, the local community and the nation. The life-long education of people was seen as essential for personal fulfilament, social improvement, economic competitiveness and the proper functioning of democratic procedures. The educational system built up at Cadbury, and the philosophy on which it was founded, acquired both a domestic and international reputation. Its main components were the day continuation education of juniors; the Bournville Works Evening Institute; vocational and non-vocational scholarships; emphasis on the primary importance of general education as a basis for life, work and technical training; stress on equality of educational opportunity for females; and leisure and sporting amenities which the firm felt to be educative in the sense that they contributed to personal psychological and physical development and social skills. The system was primarily shaped and constructed in the first three decades of the twentieth century and went into decline and eventual demise in the 1960's and 1970's as a result of economic pressures, social changes, enhanced state arrangements for education, shifts in Cadbury management thinking and the merger with Schweppes in 1969.