Be skills short or train?
I have recently noticed that an increasing amount of the junior candidates applying for my briefs seem to be lacking in the basic requirements for the role. These ranged from basic computer skills to basic grammar. As this has begun to be a reoccurring theme, I am left asking, "Why it's the case?" and "Is it that the landscape of the work place has changed fundamentally for graduates and juniors?"
Recent reports have noted that youth unemployment in the UK was up by 21.2% on the last quarter as more young people are giving up on the search for work, which is inevitably depriving a society of a generation of skilled workers. The weakening of the global recovery in 2012 & 2013 has further aggravated the crisis. Another report by the Princes Trust found that a lack of computer skills could be damaging the career chances of young Britons, after it was discovered that more than one in 10 were unable to send their CV digitally, while a quarter dreaded filling in an application online.
The Creative industries, as recognised in the government's plan for growth, have a vital role to play in stimulating growth and recovery in the UK over the coming years. Strong creative talent is one of the reasons that the UK has built up a natural strength in sectors such as advertising and marketing, music, publishing, video games, film, design and fashion. However the view from many creative sub-sectors is that the UK is now slipping on this measure and risks being over taken by global competitors.
That's not to say that the problem is localised -in fact, it's far wider. The challenge is that skill shortages are global and the situation will probably get worse before it gets better. Some employers have reacted to this by recruiting young people straight from school, however just as many employers have moved in the opposite direction.
Simon Nathan of The Education and Skills organisation sets out clear recommendations to ensure the creative industries have the skills they need to thrive and prosper; the recommendations were aimed at education but also supporting employers to develop the abilities of the current workplace. Instead of endless searches for juniors with the right skills, would it not be more beneficial for employees to invest in the training and development of these skills at grass roots level?