Blogs - 04 July 2013

Guest Blog – Steve Yardley: Mind the Gap!


Steve Yardley, Chief Operating Officer, Remit Group

OVER the past twenty five years, so much has changed in the way we live and work. The dramatic shift in technological advances has made the difference between using a pen, paper, envelope and stamp, to picking up a Smart phone and literally clicking a button. 

Much of this would have been unfathomable thirty years ago, when I began my apprenticeship with a Nottingham garage. 

I was learning how to mend and maintain cars, which in itself was complicated enough for a 16-year-old straight out of school. But these were vehicles without sat-nav and cruise control, there was no reversing sensor in sight and the only car that ever talked was Knightrider. 

Despite having worked as a mechanic and been involved for many years in the training of young people, I don’t think I could sufficiently repair, or even service a modern day car. 

So at a time, when the demands on our mechanics and engineers are ever increasing, the skills gap seems to widen even more. 

In the past three decades, an increasing percentage of young people have stayed on at school or other forms of full-time education. At Remit we are finding out for ourselves, just how few young people are being directed towards apprenticeships. 

This inbalance means there has also been a steady decline in young people entering the jobs market at the appropriate age, with so many not starting their careers until their mid to late twenties. 

In recent years, there has also been a distinct dip in the number of young people with even the most basic of skills. This limits those who want to expand on their existing skills base, as are not starting off at the right point. 

I believe in and very much rely on technological advances, but there are some practices where I think we would benefit from looking backwards rather than forwards. 

We need to see more solid foundations, focusing on the key skills that we all need in life – basic numeracy, literacy and not least, communication skills, something that in many ways is becoming lost in the age of technology. 

On those solid foundations, we need to build a new generation of skilled workers who can hold up our country, keep us all on the move and plug that skills gap.

Steve Yardley, Chief Operating Officer, Remit Group

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