Column: Firms need to put up or shut up

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Some “captains of industry” are once again complaining about the lack of suitable staff to employ within their businesses.

This is a cry which has surfaced on a regular basis over the last five decades at least. In response to this the government has pumped countless billions of pounds into education and training/skills and knowledge development during the period, supposedly increasingly tailored to business requirements identified via consultation with the various commercial/industrial sectors.

Programmes have often been delivered by companies ostensibly specialising in returning the long-term unemployed to work via the provision of specialised courses and utilising their corporate contacts; making the owners of such companies multi-millionaires in the process.

Meanwhile, schools and other educational establishments continue to turn out graduates from courses of an increasingly vocational nature to fit stated business requirements.

Yet time and again we witness the same “captains of industry” and other employers, rubbishing the qualifications and skills base achieved or saying that it’s experience or a proven track record that counts.

This locks potential recruits into the Catch 22 of one can’t get the job without the experience, yet one can’t get the experience without a suitable job in the first place.

Indeed, so disappointed are they with the calibre of potential employees in a lot of cases, that they feel forced to look overseas for recruits to fulfil their requirements.

Meanwhile, other companies involved in highly specialised operations, specific to their particular company, plan expansion programmes and then think that all they have to do is advertise vacancies and a flood of suitable applicants will result; seemingly without thinking from where the required operatives will come from.

Consequently, isn’t about time that businesses in general started to either put up or shut up?

In other words, recruit people and train them up themselves at their own expense to suit their own companies’ specific requirements?

They will then be able to provide themselves with the calibre of candidates they require to their own exacting specifications, rather than depend on others to provide such?

If not, then, what’s stopping them from doing so?

After all, “they” always say that if you want something doing and doing well, and then do it yourself, don’t “they”?