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Thread: Theres hope for the unemployed at last ......about time this started to happen.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Theres hope for the unemployed at last ......about time this started to happen.

    Business Insider has an article dated 12 Nov, that struck a cord with me, an event i have been waiting to see occur and dawn on businesses ever since i came to North America.

    The issue surrounds the training of workers or rather the total lack of undertaking training with a more long term view and its impact in the inability of companies to fill positions that exist.

    Training of workers is something i have personally noticed is pretty much a non event in this part of the world unless it has to do with what i call more of a briefing on some safety issue that would have liability associated with it or some customer service training or very direct training for a specific new machine which does not come with a operator all wrapped up in a box.

    No what i am refering to is more complex than a morning seminar or one day wonder kind of program and its not until ones back is to the wall and HR have spent loads of dollars to find that ellusive non existant ideal candidate that the company finally breaks down and realizes we gonna have to train someone.

    Its been my view upon seeing some of the job ads and the continous mention in Canada of shortage of skills that the issue is not one of shortage of skills but rather total lack of leadership in companies.

    We all talk about how a rookie straight out of University might know the theorectical side of their work and yeah they may have undertaken a practicle project here or there but that in no way equips them to be able to walk into a job and be entirely productive day one. They still need nurturing constructive on the job training, mentoring and guidance. Then they may have some form of technical skills but these need to be supplemented over time with aspects such as supervision training, management development training and ultimately executive development training.

    Certainly where i came from it was part of our culture. The very firm i started out with after post secondary training way back in the day used to hire at least 8 trainees each year and that for a relatively small company. We were given normal tasks but we were well supervised and mentored and the pros were allowed and expected to take time out and show us the ropes and help us on our way.

    Then there were company held training programs that went on for weeks at a time at separate facilities to teach more general business skills in groups with workers from a variety of departments and different plants.

    HR had a training department with full time trainers. Trainees were taken on at a variety of levels. We had a nursery where prior to them being unleashed on the company they would go for specific skills upon returning from their post secondary field of study.

    Now my experiences here seem to be HRs job is to find that perfect fit using some fancy software thats gonna filter resumes and only seek out the ideal resume with all the keywords in it. What a load of nonsense in my opinion.

    So suddenly we have an awakening that perhaps we have to get back to basics and take ownership of the problem as a company and set about starting up more apprenticship programs and train people like would have happened in the past.

    Its about time this happens.

    Surely it is common sense that as the huge baby boomer cohort retires and along with them all the years of valuable knowlegde and skill that there is going to be a shortage of skilled personnel equivalent to a brain drain in a third world country.

    I say its a leadership issue because a true leader as in Ceo or Department manager needs to learn that they are responsible for their staff and staffs action and not hide behind hiring criteria but make a human judgement call. Sure sometimes they gonna be wrong and there should be no need to throw them under the bus for this otherwise we have status quo.

    Apologies for the somewhat rant of my post but unemployment is a serious issue and affects everyone. There is so much cheap talk on the matter but little action.

    Heres to hoping the business world is coming to its senses once again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Having shwn a few MCSEs the ropes in a live server/user environment, I agree with you about the ability of graduates to leap into a job on day one, but they are usually bright enough to pick it up, and if they can get around personalities and office politics, they'll be OK.

    One of the problems in Canada has been the lack of emphasis on trade skills. Canadian schools have thrust peoplle at academic streams without considering they could do well in construction trades, HVAC, machinist (OK, that's mostly CNC now, but it isn't sitting at a desk doing accounting or business managment.)

    My two sons have traades, one is now a manager in his field, and the other is a heavy equipment operator, and happy as a clam, with a huge take-home pay. I've often wished that I had studied tool and die making. I would have loved the work, but I didn't even know what a tool and die maker was when I left high school. My degree in politics and psychology has so far only made me a more intelligent newspaper reader.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I was slated to work in the trades. I worked with my dad after HS for 6 years before deciding it was time to try something on my own. Unfortunately he trained me in everything and I didn't have one true skill set yet and didn't go far. I had been accepted to the pipe-fitter's union and was due to start training in about a month. It so happen that a friend called and needed some drywall work done...which I did for him. He knew I had been fiddling with old computers that were tossed out from my old job. As we were talking one evening, he mentioned he had an opening in his IT department. He had me come in and do some training over a couple of weeks, helped me tweak my resume, and got me the job. Over the next couple of years he'd give me new tasks to learn and as I learned them, he'd have me update my resume. He'd even check on my resume from time to time and help me adjust it if needed.

    I've mostly been self taught, but have gone back to school as needed. I've also mentored several folks over the years, some did well, some did not. I'll the opportunity to do that again after the first of the year. Have someone coming to our department that is willing and wants to learn. I've got a co-worker that thinks it's a waste of our time and he should go take some classes before considering him, but lucky for the new guy the co-worker isn't making the call to bring him on.

    I know there are folks like Mike Rowe pushing for trades training, has some good resources on his site too. The local Harley plant works with the business and technology school where I took my machinist classes and does much of their job placement from the college though certificate programs.

    BTW...60 minutes had a program this week on the skills gap issue:
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 11-15-2012 at 06:39 PM.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Syracuse, Nebraska
    When I got out of the Army in '73 I was terminally unemployable as a North Vietnamese linguist. I went to a local community college on the GI bill and took a machine tool technology course (machinist) I managed to get into the Tool & Die trade and worked my way up to the head of the department with a company after 30+ years. The company went down the tubes in 2008 and was acquired by another company only 6 weeks later. They had a "training program" they called Standard Work where a 1-2 page job description was written out and the theory was that any one could come in off the street and read that Standard Work Sheet and know how to do the job. When I retired in 2010 they were planning on replacing my 30+ years of experience in a precision trade with a warm body that could read their form. Don't know what happened, I left and didn't look back.

    I am a strong advocate of learning a skilled trade, the world still belongs to the people who are willing to get their hands dirty.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    In the late 90's and into the dot-com era, I managed a network geek squad that covered the western part of the U.S. A large portion of my performance review was based on my ability to get the jobs done while keeping my staff in formal training 25% of the time. Yep, that's one week out of every four, you were in a class somewhere. Now, bear in mind this is multi-faceted geek-work and in a period before things settled down to where most of the world only speaks IP. I have people working with me today who never even worked with other protocols(???). But, I digress . . . we have a couple hundred openings at work that we are struggling to fill. Plenty of them involve good old hard work and some involve getting your hands dirty but, they are pretty much all skilled positions. If we don't provide an entrance point for folks to get experienced, we will never have enough experienced workers. I am glad to see a shift in consciousness that leads to an investment in your workforce instead of seeing them as an expensive and expendable commodity.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    bitterness isnt good for the soul, but i can relate to expendabilty and training being for only selected ones.. but to the main story in this thread the old timers are by far better teachers than most the particular job setting every company has its own style of running and things that need to be done to work well towards a profitable product.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    One thing you missed Rob that I see in my line of work quite ok far to often. The new hire is just plan to darn stupid to train. Or to lazy. Kids these days just don't want to work.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    One thing you missed Rob that I see in my line of work quite ok far to often. The new hire is just plan to darn stupid to train. Or to lazy. Kids these days just don't want to work.
    I think its actually more complicated than that. Some ways of thinking don't make sense to some people. For instance I know one person who can't visualize shapes at all or really think spatially for designing, but can tell me to within about 2' how many square feet are in a room just by looking at it. In computers we see the same thing, some people can program, but don't have them manage the computers or you'll have crap everywhere or vice versa is also true.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Rob, even though we had it in the formative years, America really does not have the apprentice/journeyman/master mentality.
    The problem hiring today is often a matter if illiteracy. Shop managers cannot find people who can read or do simple arithmetic. Same with high level college graduates, basically illiterate. I believe it is a current social disease. If 'text talk' is OK that is all they know, or care to know.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Well guys i have witnessed some of what you refer to with certain kids but i am happy to say i have also seen the opposite. Sure their approach to life is different to what we might have had but its also different times we live in.

    What i am refering to is a fundamental business cultural outlook.

    Lets go back to WW2 era when woman by and large had not been working in the industrial workplace then had to go to work in factories to build all sorts of things from tanks to planes. My mom was a quality control inspector in a factory making parts for spitfires. I am pretty sure that mom did not know which way up a caliper was when she first went to work. Pretty sure when they taught her Shakespeare at school calipers and micrometers were not in the sylabus.
    But she got taught to use them and she got taught what was right and what wrong.
    Other woman got taught to operate and produce machined parts. Those were days when by and large woman had been schooled at school in home economics.

    I dont see much of a difference today.

    I too have had experiences at all levels where people i have taken on have let me down.

    But i will tell you about my first case of hiring and where it led to.

    I had just returned from Boston and a training course or two for specialised test equipment. This was around 1980-82 i cannot remember the exact year without getting out an old passport.
    We now needed to find an operator for thsi machine. There was no precedent. This was not the USA where such machines existed in large numbers. This was South Africa and we had the only machine onthe continent.
    So what to do. If one hired to high up the chain in terms of qualifications then the person would end up being bored after a period of having gained familiarity with the task and settlinginto a routine. If we hired down the chain then we would not get an approriate skill level to be able to do more than push the buttons.

    Between myself and another engineer we concluded as techies would that ideally this should be a technicians job. So igot the task to hire the tech.

    Well i saw loads of people. At the time looking for this ideal candidate. Thankfully and yeah i trully thank them today, HR manager took me aside and said look we have brought you x many people andno one is good enough. You gotta realise you aint gonna get a perfect person.
    So after a few more i hired a guy that I did not wish to hire but said tomyself Rob you being to picky and made the call to take him on andgive theguy a break.
    Well it turned out to be a big mistake. The guy spent most of his time sleeping in the washroom stalls. Dont ask how we found out.
    So i had the unpleasant task of terminating him.

    The problem we faced though had not gone away. If anything it had got worse. We now had a machine heading for production with an entire product line hinging on its use and no operator.

    Now keep in mind where this is taking place and the specifics of teh country. This was in apartheid South Africa and believe it or not things at that time were already well on the way to change.

    I had observed and befriended one of our drivers. He was a black guy and in this case due to country his color was relevant because of the discrimination that existed. By this time "Job Reservation" was a thing of the past. But no one in that part of the world would have considered taking a driver from his position and training him to be a operator of sophisticated computer based test equipment. But i noticed over thetime we had been setting this thing up that each time this guy had been sent on an erand for us that when he dropped it off he showed an incredible interest and apptitude for what we were doing. He asked questions and put two and two together and got more and more interested. Now we are talking about a grown man. Who through the course of the countries history had not had the education i have seen many trash. I am talking here about finishing elelentary school. But this shall we call it illiteracy did not make him stupid. He used to avidly read the newspaper each day during lunch breaks and could hold an intelligent conversation with anyone.
    So i discussed the matter with the other engineer that had been on teh training with me and we decided what the heck lets pop the question to him.
    So one day i asked him if he would be interested in operating thismachine. Wow you needed to be there to experience and witness his reaction.
    Then i set about trying to get approval from the hierachy to have him transfered and allow us to train him.
    Fortunately the company was shall we say more englightened than most at the time and with the responsibility squarely on my shoulders for success the move was approved. This guy succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. But what is more important that i absolutely did not understand at the time was the statement that it had made to the rest of the ordinary workers regardless of color. The guy stayed with the machine for as long as i can remember. He took ownership of it and looked after it and learnt incrementally as time went on. He was very happy very proud of his new job and position and valued the opportunity.

    Now the other guy the tech that i had to fire after a short time (who by the way was a qualified tech but just a little lost due to youth) i lost track of.

    Then in 2001 just before i moved to Canada i was in Johannesburg visiting an old friend. He said do you remember a guy called XYZ. I said no. He said well he remembers you. So he took me to meet this guy and it turned out to be the guy i had fired all those years before.

    Well this guy so wanted to meet me and thanked me profusely for firing him. I could not believe it. Then he took me to his factory and showed me the operation he now had. He said none of it would have happened had i not fired him and that was a changing point in his life.

    So to me the moral of the story is we cannot allow the whole paper resume idealism to block the advancement of not only people but the economy. One has toget past the paradigms that we have been brainwashed by the media to accept and believe.

    At the end of the day unemployment affects every single one of us in some way shape or form. I have not met or heard of anyone who has or is unemployed saying they actually enjoy the condition.

    And if i without any special "Degree in Education" or some other fandangled darn title can take a non qualified driver and turn him into a computer based test machine operator then i would argue hundreds of thousands of the unemployed in America and Canada and Spain etc etc can be offered new opportunity to make a living and trained by the person who will make a profit from their labor to do the task required.

    We gotta stop making and finding excuses and reasons not to do so. Things such as liability, firing a manager that made a mistake in hiring someone, etc.

    Why, face it, if there are millions of jobs out there that are not filled, surely those activities hold back the economy. If that issue is not solved with some speed and creativity what is the point of companies expanding and looking to hire more. How can a company think in terms of innovation and expansion if they start to believe at the top that they cannot find the people therefore lets not do it or rather the alternative becomes lets do it elsewhere.

    Sure there is risk in hiring but what one has to do is get creative about how to mitigate the risk. My sons University Football team recruited 125 kids for 85 seasonal positions. Training camp whittled it down to 110, then pre season game whittled it down further and by end of season they had cut even more.

    If they can do it nothing stops anyone else from coming up with similar solutions. I rest my case.

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