No place for experiment
I agree wholeheartedly with the chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority that experience in industry does allow you to "get a sense of reality". But alas, in my experience, that opinion does not appear to be widely shared with senior management responsible for the recruitment of primary teachers.
I also worked for Motorola (13 years' service from operator to senior engineer) and decided to follow a dream to become a primary teacher. I took the difficult step to take a substantial drop in salary and change profession. I achieved a first class honours BEd.
I am now a second-year teacher and keen to get a full-time, permanent class post. Unfortunately, when applying for jobs over three different education authorities and filling in numerous job applications (none of which have a section for work experience prior to "life-in-teaching"), no one appears interested in my "experience in industry". Having attended several job interviews, I have never been asked about my time in the private sector.
I agree that experiencing work in the private sector is extremely valuable in becoming a better teacher but, unfortunately, not so valuable when it comes to getting a job.