Currently ‘Skills’ within the workplace is high on the government agenda. Funds are filtering down into regional ‘pots’ that have been allocated to support the up-skilling of the nation’s workforce. David Lammy, Skills Minister commented, ‘Yorkshire and Humber has the highest proportion of low skilled workers in the country because its traditional manufacturing industry could rely on low skilled workers.’
In the past two decades the region has suffered from the decline of traditional industries with massive job losses in coal mining, steel, engineering and textiles. These have been partly offset by growth in financial, legal and telephone-based services. Were these really low skilled jobs that were lost? Just because the skills did not show up on the national qualifications database does not mean that these were unskilled workers! Was a miner really less skilled than a telephone worker with an NVQ Level 2 in Call Centre Operations?
The skills that your business needs should not be determined by Mr Lammy and the agendas and prejudices promoted by an army of skills brokers. The skills that your business needs will be determined by your customers, by your markets, by your suppliers by your competitors and by your decisions. It is likely that the skills needs will change quickly and significantly – so the real premium will go to those that learn – continually.