Support those who support skills

by Andy Bryenton

As a child or teenager, we attend school for close to fourteen years of our lives. While this is where we learn the fundamentals of reading, writing, maths and other core subjects, the bulk of our learning comes from another source. That is because we spend more than five decades at work, where education continues, and our skills are specialised.

What this means is that employers who invest in the upskilling of their staff are a valuable resource to all of society. You may not have a tertiary institution in your town. However, you are likely to have people teaching advanced skills in areas as disparate as accountancy, engineering, administration, building, law and plumbing.

We’re not just talking about apprenticeship programmes, though these are of immense importance. The cutbacks to trade apprenticeships in the 1990s are now almost universally regarded as a terrible mistake; the knock-on effect has seen us suffer a nationwide shortage of trained tradies. Those who are now at the helm are working hard to rectify the shortfall by training a new generation; it’s imperative we show these locals our support.

There’s equal honour in the actions of businesses of all kinds who commit to embracing new technology and teaching their staff how to use it. In fact, there are whole professional organisations (such as the Certified Builders) who insist on their members keeping up to date with the very latest tech in the trade to stay on board. Others, like automakers Ford, have a worldwide training programme for their top technicians, keeping them on the ball when it comes to the latest in automotive technology. In most businesses, there’s extensive training day-to-day, as junior staff are promoted and learn new roles, IT and computer tech advances, and new tools and machines become commonplace.

Think of the average workplace in the 1950s, and compare it to the workplace of today.

That’s the training gap, which would exist if our local employers were not also some of our front-line educators.

Give your locals the recognition they deserve for fulfilling this role by supporting those who support training, upskilling and apprenticeships with your custom.