Learning from the past to drive the UK forward

first_imgLearning from the past to drive the UK forwardOn 24 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. It was interesting to listen to Digby Jones at the recent Personnel Today HRDirectors Club in London. The CBI chief made particular reference to the recentmedia coverage on the ‘offshore’ phenomenon. As we are all aware, the UKmanufacturing industry went through a challenging time during the late 1980sand early ’90s when it became fashionable to outsource operations to emergingeconomies. It was the finance sector that filled the hole left by manufacturing’sexodus, generating employment by building call centres. Now it too is feelingthe pressure to offshore its business, turning to other countries to carry outcall centre and processing activities. Jones’ view is that it is inevitable that these moves will continue and weshould plan for them rather than resist them. He reckons it is ourresponsibility as an HR community to equip those employees remaining in the UKwith a different set of appropriate skills. This will leave us with many issues to face, not least increasedunemployment. Specifically, there would be a greater impact on the young as our16-20 year-olds will find it harder to find early employment opportunities andto learn basic vocational skills. We simply cannot sustain an economy that has a working population derivedonly from university graduates. We need to vocationally train and employ schoolleavers straight after GCSEs. In the past decade, 16 year-olds have beenencouraged to stay on at school, complete their A-Levels, then move on touniversity. We even banished the word ‘polytechnic’ from the English languagein a bid to persuade our youngsters that attendance at a ‘university’ wouldgive them a higher status. This needs to stop. There is a credible alternative career option still opento 16-24 year-olds – the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme. There are less schemes these days than, say, 20 years ago, but there arecurrently more than 140,000 modern apprentices being trained across the UK.Furthermore the Government, through its local Learning and Skills Councils, isbeginning to heavily promote Modern Apprenticeship Schemes with an addedincentive this year of a training allowance. This is aimed at two areas: first,it is designed to encourage more school leavers to sign up to the scheme; andsecond, it helps smaller companies (SMEs) access a pool of trained applicantsready for work from day one of employment. Our nation will always need an ongoing supply of trained, employable,skilled youngsters whether craftsman, engineers, technicians, electricians orbusiness administrators. It really is time for employers to action vocationaltraining and employment for school leavers by tapping into programmes like theModern Apprentice Scheme. University should not be the only option for theyoung. www.lsc.gov.uk  www.realworkrealplay.gov.ukBy Alan Bailey, Head of business process outsourcing, Xchanging Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more