Section II Reading Comprehension
Read the following four texts. Answer the questions after each text by choosing A, B, C or D. Mark your answers on the ANSWER SHEET. (40 points)
“Reskilling” is something that sounds like a buzzword but is actually a requirement if we plan to have a future where a lot of would-be workers do not get left behind. We know we are moving into a period where the jobs in demand will change rapidly, as will the requirements of the jobs that remain. Research by the World Economic Forum finds that on average 42 per cent of the “core skills” within job roles will change by 2022. That is a very short timeline.
The question of who should pay for reskilling is a thorny one. For individual companies, the temptation is always to let go of workers whose skills are no longer in demand and replace them with those whose skills are. That does not always happen. AT&T is often given as the gold standard of a company that decided to do a massive reskilling program rather than go with a fire-and-hire strategy. Other companies had also pledged to create their own plans. When the skills mismatch is in the broader economy though, the focus usually turns to government to handle. Efforts in Canada and elsewhere have been arguably languid at best, and have given us a situation where we frequently hear of employers begging for workers, even at times and in regions where unemployment is high.
With the pandemic, unemployment is very high indeed. In February, at 3.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively, unemployment rates in Canada and the United States were at generational lows and worker shortages were everywhere. As of May, those rates had spiked up to 13.3 per cent and 13.7 per cent, and although many worker shortages had disappeared, not all had done so. In the medical field, to take an obvious example, the pandemic meant that there were still clear shortages of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.
Of course, it is not like you can take an unemployed waiter and train him to be a doctor in a few weeks. But even if you cannot close that gap, maybe you can close others, and doing so would be to the benefit of all concerned. That seems to be the case in Sweden: When forced to furlough 90 per cent of their cabin staff, Scandinavian Airlines decided to start up a short retraining program that reskilled the laid-off workers to support hospital staff. The effort was a collective one and involved other companies as well as a Swedish university.
21. Research by the World Economic Forum suggests ______.
A. a controversy about the “core skills”
B. an increase in full-time employment
C. an urgent demand for new job skills
D. a steady growth of job opportunities
22. AT&T is cited to show ______.
A. an immediate need for government support
B. an alternative to the fire-and-hire strategy
C. the characteristics of reskilling programs
D. the importance of staff appraisal standards
23. Efforts to resolve the skills mismatch in Canada ______.
A. have appeared to be insufficient
B. have driven up labour costs
C. have proved to be inconsistent
D. have met with fierce opposition
24. We can learn from Paragraph 3 that there was ______.
A. a sign of economic recovery
B. a call for policy adjustment
C. a change in hiring practices
D. a lack of medical workers
25. Scandinavian Airlines decided to ______.
A. create job vacancies for the unemployed
B. retrain their cabin staff for better services
C. prepare their laid-off workers for other jobs
D. finance their staff’s college education
21.【答案】C(an urgent demand for new job skills)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干关键词Research by the World Economic Forum定位到第一段③句，由42 per cent of the “core skills” within job roles will change可知大量工作“核心技能”将发生变化。C项an urgent demand for new job skills(对新工作技能的迫切需求)符合题意。所以本题选C。
22.【答案】B(an alternative to the fire-and-hire strategy)
【解析】本题为例证题。根据题干关键词AT&T定位到第二段④句：AT&T is often given as the gold standard of a company that decided to do a massive reskilling program rather than go with a fire-and-hire strategy。B项an alternative to the fire-and-hire strategy(解雇和雇佣策略的替代方案)是对rather than go with a fire-and-hire strategy(而不是推行解雇和雇佣策略)的同义替换。所以本题选B。
23.【答案】A(have appeared to be insufficient)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干关键词skills mismatch、Canada定位到第二段⑦句：Efforts in Canada and elsewhere have been arguably languid at best, and have given us a situation where we frequently hear of employers begging for workers, even at times and in regions where unemployment is high。A项have appeared to be insufficient(似乎不够)是对⑦句中languid(虚弱无力的)，以及“employers begging for workers VS unemployment is high(雇主缺人VS失业率高)”这一困境的合理概括。所以本题选A。
24.【答案】D(a lack of medical workers)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干Paragraph 3定位到第三段。本段①句是论点“疫情期间失业率很高”。②③句是数据论据;④句是事例论据，以医疗领域为例，证明人员的紧缺。D项a lack of medical workers(医疗工作者短缺)对应④句there were still clear shortages of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel。所以本题选D。
25.【答案】C(prepare their laid-off workers for other jobs)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干关键词Scandinavian Airlines decided to定位到第四段③句Scandinavian Airlines decided to start up a short retraining program that reskilled the laid-off workers to support hospital staff。C项prepare their laid-off workers for other jobs(帮助他们的失业员工为其它工作做准备)对应③句reskilled the laid-off workers to support hospital staff。所以本题选C。
With the global population predicted to hit close to 10 billion by 2050, and forecasts that agricultural production in some regions will need to nearly double to keep pace, food security is increasingly making headlines. In the UK, it has become a big talking point recently too, for a rather particular reason: Brexit.
Brexit is seen by some as an opportunity to reverse a recent trend towards the UK importing food. The country produces only about 60 per cent of the food it eats, down from almost three-quarters in the late 1980s. A move back to self-sufficiency, the argument goes, would boost the farming industry, political sovereignty and even the nation’s health. Sounds great—but how feasible is this vision?
According to a report on UK food production from the University of Leeds, UK, 85 per cent of the country’s total land area is associated with meat and dairy production. That supplies 80 per cent of what is consumed, so even covering the whole country in livestock farms wouldn’t allow us to cover all our meat and dairy needs.
There are many caveats to those figures, but they are still grave. To become much more self-sufficient, the UK would need to drastically reduce its consumption of animal foods, and probably also farm more intensively—meaning fewer green fields, and more factory-style production.
But switching to a mainly plant-based diet wouldn’t help. There is a good reason why the UK is dominated by animal husbandry: most of its terrain doesn’t have the right soil or climate to grow crops on a commercial basis. Just 25 per cent of the country’s land is suitable for crop-growing, most of which is already occupied by arable fields. Even if we converted all the suitable land to fields of fruit and veg—which would involve taking out all the nature reserves and removing thousands of people from their homes—we would achieve only a 30 per cent boost in crop production.
Just 23 per cent of the fruit and vegetables consumed in the UK are currently home-grown, so even with the most extreme measures we could meet only 30 per cent of our fresh produce needs. That is before we look for the space to grow the grains, sugars, seeds and oils that provide us with the vast bulk of our current calorie intake.
26. Some people argue that food self-sufficiency in the UK would .
A. be hindered by its population growth
B. contribute to the nation’s well-being
C. become a priority of the government
D. pose a challenge to its farming industry
27. The report by the University of Leeds shows that in the UK .
A. farmland has been inefficiently utilized
B. factory-style production needs reforming
C. most land is used for meat and dairy production
D. more green fields will be converted for farming
28. Crop-growing in the UK is restricted due to .
A. its farming technology
B. its dietary tradition
C. its natural conditions
D. its commercial interests
29. It can be learned from the last paragraph that British people .
A. rely largely on imports for fresh produce
B. enjoy a steady rise in fruit consumption
C. are seeking effective ways to cut calorie intake
D. are trying to grow new varieties of grains
30. The author’s attitude to food self-sufficiency in the UK is .
26.【答案】B(contribute to the nation’s well-being)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干关键词food self-sufficiency定位到第二段③句：A move back to self-sufficiency, the argument goes, would boost the farming industry, political sovereignty and even the nation’s health。contribute to是对boost的同义替换，well-being是对health的同义替换。所以本题选B。
27.【答案】C(most land is used for meat and dairy production)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干关键词The report by the University of Leeds定位到第三段①句：According to a report on UK food production from the University of Leeds, UK, 85 per cent of the country’s total land area is associated with meat and dairy production。most land is used for meat and dairy production对应85 per cent of the country’s total land area is associated with meat and dairy production。所以本题选C。
28.【答案】C(its natural conditions)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干关键词Crop-growing is restricted先定位到第五段③句：Just 25 per cent of the country’s land is suitable for crop-growing, most of which is already occupied by arable fields，但该句并没有解释英国农作物种植受限的原因。②句指出，“英国以畜牧业为主是有充分理由的：其大部分地区的土壤或气候不适合农作物商业化种植”(There is a good reason why the UK is dominated by animal husbandry: most of its terrain doesn’t have the right soil or climate to grow crops on a commercial basis)，由此可得知，英国农作物种植受限是因为其缺少适合的土壤和气候，属于自然环境因素。natural conditions是对soil or climate的概括。所以本题选C。
29.【答案】A(rely largely on imports for fresh produce)
【解析】本题为细节题。根据题干中的the last paragraph模糊定位到最后一段，①句指出，“目前，英国人食用的果蔬中只有23%是本土产出的，因此，尽管我们用尽所有的方法，也只能满足30%的新鲜农产品需求”(Just 23 per cent of the fruit and vegetables consumed in the UK are currently home-grown, so even with the most extreme measures we could meet only 30 per cent of our fresh produce needs.)，由此可得知，英国人对新鲜农产品的需求不能仅仅依靠国内提供，大部分要依赖于进口。所以本题选A。
【解析】本题为态度题。题干中的关键词food self-sufficiency为本文话题词，首次出现在第二段③句，然后④句对此提出问题：听起来不错——但这种(自给自足的)愿景可行吗?(Sounds great—but how feasible is this vision?)。随后，作者从第三段到最后一段一直在论证自给自足的困难，由此可得知，作者的态度更倾向于怀疑。所以本题选B。