Regular readers will no doubt have read a piece by a co-blogger last week, which made the point that local government is dominated by old people and that younger, more energetic and less fearful staff find it too difficult to get in on the action. Of particular note were graduates, those shining stars who are destined for greatness and deserve every bit of help they can get in order to get there sooner rather than later.
Now, football and politics aside, the two of us very rarely disagree too much (although their positive take on their team’s young players will forever be a bone of contention). However, the subject of the need for youth to triumph over experience is one on which we agree to disagree.
I feel I need to make my own position clear here, to give a little context to my comments. I left school at 16 with some GCSEs and a few contacts, and then spent the next decade and a half slowly climbing my way up the greasy pole. Not because I feel the burning need for power or authority, just that I’ve been in the right place at the right time on a few occasions. I’m not at the top (far from it), but am keeping my annual salary above my age which is all I ever hope to do.
Despite the protestations of the rest of my household, occasionally I am able to catch the odd frame or two of snooker. The recent World Championship was as interesting as the cricket world cup – brilliant for me, but also the cause of much gnashing of teeth and fights over the remote control. For those of you who didn’t follow it, newcomer Judd Trump narrowly lost in the final to multiple champion John Higgins, meaning there is a new kid on the block.
Pundits and commentators have been gushing with praise over Trump, expressing their belief that he might be one of the most naturally gifted players since Ronnie O’Sullivan turned up, and that players like them are freaks of nature with a natural ability that means they would always have turned up at the final table of tournaments, even if they had only discovered the game a few months ago.
An alternative theory however has also emerged, which describes how these snooker players and other similar world class players only got that way down to years and decades of hard work. I won’t go into the theory myself (you can read it for yourself at the BBC website) but it got me thinking about the way we introduce newcomers to the world of local government, and inspire them to be the best that they can be.
Recently we have offered our dear, valued readers a number of quite nuanced posts, tackling sensitive issues and asking some big questions. From debate on frankly ridiculous referendum guidance, to the problems facing all at Dale Farm, to equalities monitoring information, we’ve tackled it recently.
However, today is a return to a simple, straightforward old school rant, so if this is not your thing then look away now and come back tomorrow.
Todays rant takes us back to a pet topic of mine, and was brought up as I delved into a new shared drive area, which thanks to the vaguaries of ICT randomly became available to me. It covered recruitment, and laid out a dozen or more job descriptions which had been recruited to over the past few years. As I looked through them they covered a wide range of work areas, and required a huge range of skills and experience. But do you know what sat at the top of each person spec, regardless of the job or grade?
“Educated to degree standard”
Some added an “or equivalent” at the end of that short sentence, but regardless it invariably sat there in black and white, usually followed by the capital ‘E’ for essential.