I’ve come across another quote in the Latchford report into the riots that has got me thinking. If we’re going to look at “inclusive growth” as one of the key lines of enquiry this will inevitably include employment – but what does it take to become employed or simply employable?
Is it all down to qualifications? 5 years in senior school studying for your GCSE’s, another 2 in higher education for A levels or similar and then maybe a further 3 at University for a degree? Or have we oversold just how far diplomas and degrees can get us and it there much more involved than a rubber stamp on a certificate.
The report says;
“People don’t get jobs as a result of having qualifications (see the experience of well-qualified mental health service users) – they get jobs because they are connected. Some people need to be educated about social norms. We have a growing “underclass” who do not know what is considered acceptable in mainstream society and who are therefore preventing from participating – in jobs and other benefits. They need to be educated about the basics – hygiene, sexual behaviour, conflict management. This is not cultural imperialism – it’s fairness. Yet our official position is that if you get a qualification you get a job. These false promises create resentment.”
For me this reads simply as social skills. We need to teach a whole host of people how to communicate, how to behave and how best to manage and sell themselves – If you have this core foundation you could then develop skills “on the job”.
“You can teach a bubbly person to repair shoes but you can’t put the personality into a grumpy cobbler”
– John Timpson, Chairman of Timpsons.
There are of course career paths that require the “rubber stamp” of education and training; lawyers, doctors etc. But what about the rest of the workforce? Is further education really THAT relevant?
This is where I put my hand up and admit – I didn’t go to university I am one of those people without a rubber stamp. So why did my manager employ me? Why did he take on my colleagues?
I don’t need to ask him as he has blogged about it recently on his company website, he says;
“Podnosh recruits for values.
We are driven by making things better: improving public services, helping active citizens have a greater impact, allowing individual civil servants more freedom to improve lives, supporting good third sector organisations to help more people. We don’t work with anyone – if potential clients don’t share a good chunk of our passions or values we’d rather they found someone else to help them.
So for this we employ or work with people who:
- believe in what we do
- care about it
- are accountable
- have integrity
- are networked
In turn they often know what they want and believe in and are leaders in their own worlds….
…One thing I haven’t mentioned? A certificate in anything.”
-Nick Booth, Podnosh
Looking at the comments on Nick’s original post he’s not the only one who thinks this way. Karl Binder of Adhere wrote his own response to this on his own site “Employing people on aptitude rather than skills…” and an array of other people have commented on the subject – but what do you think?
If Nick employs for values and Karl’s company employs for aptitude what really is the best approach to finding work? Do you think it’s through education? Is it attitude? Or are these answers too simplistic and is it through something else I’ve missed entirely?