Freesteel Blog » Pledge your skills to the boss

Pledge your skills to the boss

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 at 7:56 pm Written by:

You just can’t make this up!

On behalf of Vero Software, I as Chief Executive, make a commitment that we shall:

  • Actively encourage and support our employees to gain the skills and qualifications that will support their future employability and meet the needs of our business/organisation.
  • Actively encourage and support our employees to acquire basic literacy and numeracy skills, and with Government support work towards their first Level 2 qualification in an area that is relevant to our business/organisation.
  • Demonstrably raise our employees’ skills and competencies to improve company/organisation performance through investing.

Don Babbs

Same photo appears at novo executive research consultancy whose mission is “to make a significant commercial contribution to our clients’ successes through delivery of imaginative, creative and effective consultancy solutions.”

Now I’d be surprised if either a CAD/CAM company or a corporate executive recruitment company has managed to hire an employee without basic literacy and numeracy skills; and if they did they’d probably sack them immediately. It’s tough out there in the world of business: no room for dead wood losers or people who won’t contribute all their time to the bottom line.

But this is a Government idea. People obviously get a different perspective from the top of the heap above the sht storm. Weird ideas surface from there. To a Prime Minister or President, all these business leaders seem like jolly good chaps, don’t they? It’s as if they’re quite ignorant of the inherent nature of hierarchies: people in them treat those above with the greatest respect and humility, and those below as scum of the land who must pay back every right to a decent living.

There are transcripts of the Skills Strategy launch in June 2007 on the website of the Department for Children, Schools and Families, rather than where you would expect on, say, the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills. How this strategy fits in with the third stupidly named Ministry, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the one in charge of selling out to liaising with corporations, I do not know.

Isn’t it sweet how they care so much about us? All those junior ministers and corporate executives appearing in videos on the website Skill Stories, which has some very skillful graphics. I’ve surfed it for an hour and could find no substance in any form I could recognize. There is one dodgy statistic about functional illiteracy repeated ad nauseum by the likes of The Right Honourable Lord Jones of isoft Birmingham (Digby Jones) at the skills strategy launch event:

What I do is not on behalf of the government. I’m not the government skills envoy, I’m the UK skills envoy. I don’t do this for the government, I do this for the country because this is so important. But we do need a government representation to do this and there is a new commission, as you know. The new chairman is being announced today and he’ll be coming in with Gordon and Alan. More of that anon.

As you know, there are 7 million adults in this country today who are functionally illiterate. There are more than 11 million adults – some say it’s up as much as 17 million – who cannot add up two three figure numbers. That statistic has probably got better over the last few years, not worse. But of course, in the past, we used to put them down the pit, we used to put them in the fields, we used to put them in lime and oil and car factories, we used to put them in shipyards and woollen mills, cotton mills and steel mills, and those jobs have all gone. If we don’t do something about this, if we the employers in the public sector, in the private sector, in the third sector – the voluntary sector – if we don’t do something about this, this country is going to have a very, very nasty century.

Now I agree that it is going to be a very, very nasty century, and it is something to do with the lack of political literacy of the working class who would have strung up this bunch of clowns in jail a decade ago if they had any sense. Extraordinary rendition is good enough for any politician who is willing to lie that it isn’t happening.

In the first seven years of this century, the self-proclaimed literate ruling elite has — all by itself — sunk the world into a 6 trillion dollar war, presided over an utterly unnecessary financial crisis, and have participated in a morally unforgivable delay and denial about the need for action on climate change. This century is not going to end well. How nice of them to be concerned about whether we have enough skills to be put to use on their thoroughly evil schemes.

I have programming skills by the bucket-load, and so do many of my friends. But the standard business logic and employment contract law under which most people work forbids them to discuss or transfer those skills to other people. It’s commercially confidential, you see. Those skills are for them. They’re not for you and your friends. Even if it was your friends who taught you to program.


  • 1. Freesteel » Blog Ar&hellip replies at 9th April 2008, 10:27 am :

    […] 20;Operating and financial review”, Chief Executive Don Babbs on 13 April 2005. [2] Pledge your skills to the boss, Freesteel Blog, 12 March 2008 [3] Deta […]

  • 2. Freesteel&hellip replies at 28th September 2009, 9:49 am :

    […] Pledge your skills to the boss, Freesteel Blog, 12 March […]

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