Help for workers is vital in a constantly changing world

BHS, Austin Reed, Polestar, hundreds of threatened job losses were announced in South Yorkshire last week.That could mean hundreds of people looking for work over the next few months.How will they fare?

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 11:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 12:34 pm
Plusnet CEO Andy Baker . Image © Paul David Drabble

A few will walk into a job on similar pay, using similar skills. But for most it means a period of upheaval, for them and for their families. It is also likely to mean retraining.

In Rotherham, where more than 500 Tata Steel workers have been made redundant from the Speciality Steels business, a £9 million support package has been put together covering training, job creation schemes and financial support for supply chain businesses.

It is backed by an impressive coalition of local and regional organisations, which successfully pressured the government into putting its hand in its pocket.

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But can the retail staff at BHS or the printers at Polestar expect anything like that level of support?

And if not, what are their options?

Tough choices may have to be made. The Institute of Directors warns in a recent report that lifelong learning must be embraced in a fast-changing world.

This ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is sweeping away the mainstays of employment, while learning and recalling facts is slipping in importance.

Skilled employees of the future need to know where to find information – and how to use it.

Digital industries are at the cutting edge of this change and while many are booming they are also constrained by a lack of staff.

In response, Sheffield-based ISP Plusnet now offers an impressive list of perks and has set up a training course with the Owls and Waitrose. This is a very welcome move in uncertain times.