Long term vs short term

I watched a little bit of Golden Brown on the Politics Show on BBC1 yesterday.

The premise of the show was a good one – about a dozen people from a particular area of the UK (this week it was the Midlands) with GB sitting in front of them getting a grilling.

The piece I thought was interesting was when dear old Golden was challenged on skills, training and future jobs.

Now, to be fair to GB, he was in a difficult position. His tormentors seemed to be picked because they were antagonists, i.e., they had just lost their jobs or were out and out Conservative voters… that sort of thing.

Given the programme was based in the Midlands the programme kicked off with questions about the manufacturing base, the dwindling number of jobs in this sector and what he, Golden Brown, was going to do about it.

GB’s answer started out pretty predictably about investment in future technologies, wind turbines and renewable. He seemed to think that training in these areas was going to be the answer to the region’s woes. But, if he thought he was going to get an easy ride on this one, he was wrong.

One of his interrogators immediately picked up on the fact that there just aren’t enough jobs coming through in these sectors.

Effectively, at this point, our illustrious leader went on to say: ‘No, but ten years ago people weren’t talking about renewable at all, they are now and in another ten years we’re going to be well placed…’

Given this guy was clearly in his mid fifties he wasn’t really interested in ten years time – he wanted a job next week.

The answer to his problem, according to Golden, is Train to Gain. The T to G scheme, apparently provides all the skills anyone could ever need for now and the future.

What?

I don’t think so!

And I don’t think so for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I believe the government has got the wrong people delivering the Train to Gain scheme. It seems to be the majority of delivery is via colleges and universities.

This is okay for the longer terms stuff, but we all know how well a college prepares students for the real world… there should be a much bigger element of the T to G delivered by commercial (in the true sense of the word) businesses and these programmes should be for skills that are of use now rather than in ten years time.

The second reason that T to G just isn’t right at the moment is the complicated way courses are funded and the unnecessarily complicated process of accessing those funds. It would be a much more effective scheme if the whole thing was simplified.

But then we are talking about the government so I shouldn’t really set my sights too high.

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