Thursday, 18 November 2010

Vince Cable has no idea what he's doing

I've just seen this article at (EDIT: hidden behind a paywall - try this link instead).
Businesses could be asked to pay levies to underwrite the cost of training and employees might be required to hold licences to participate in certain trades, under government plans to improve the country’s skills.
I'm not really sure where to start on this...  If a company wants their staff to be trained in particular things, surely it's easy enough for them to arrange the training...
Mr Cable said: “Some firms are reluctant to train because they fear losing their trainees to their competitors.”
Let's see - if they train them, they end up with competent staff who may end up going elsewhere.  The answer to that is to make sure that the pay you offer is competitive. If you don't train your staff, you end up with incompetent staff who will stay with you - I don't see that this is a good thing.
The plans also proposed a “licence to practice” for workers in some sectors. “We want to encourage a wider set of industries . . . to consider where the introduction of clear professional standards will benefit an industry,” the report said.
They want to encourage the industries to consider whether or not they want anyone new coming into the field to have to arrange for a "licence"?  Is that really wise?

Consider the question put to the fast food market.  Clearly dominated by McDonalds and Burger King, both of whom would be able to procure licences in bulk.  Would McDonalds and Burger King like it if all fast food staff needed a licence?  You bet they would - the extra costs would drive down competition and make staff have to come to them - if anything, it would lead to a cut in the pay.

So why should companies be forced to pay towards "...statutory and voluntary training levies..." that they likely don't need?  I know that Vince Cable doesn't get it, but really they should employ someone to sit beside him and point out that government run schemes are always very inefficient and thus money would be wasted.  If companies want their staff to be trained, then they'll arrange the training.  Why does government have to get involved?  Contrary to what some think, there are some of us who can think for ourselves and don't need the government's help to spend our money.

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