He's absolutely right, and it irritates the hell out of me. When I was doing my 'A' levels [big number deleted] years ago, we didn't use applications. We designed and wrote programs; we learned about making retail price tags machine readable; we read about LOLA (the London Online Local Authorities) as a case study of technology adoption.
These days there's a thing called "ICT". This means you can get an 'A' level in producing a PowerPoint presentation and an Access database. Oh, give me strength.
Over the years I've interviewed dozens and dozens of candidates for various roles, and I've been really rather depressed by the average level of first principles knowledge of technology. These non-qualifications that seem all the rage can serve only to make things worse.
Yes, the world uses IT applications. But someone's got to write them. And our up and coming, potential engineers are never going to learn how to do that if they only have an 'A' level in drawing pretty slides.