I was curious shall we say to see David Cameron discussing his plans for full employment this morning. Not the least because full employment is a traditional socialist policy that Cameron tends not to be the type to couple himself up to. Of course when you get into the small print what he means is that there are enough jobs going round so that everyone could be employed not that they actually are. I guess the inference is that once you have the demand for labor sorted out its up to the individual to “get on their bike” and actually take the opportunity.
Interesting that Cameron is mainly focusing this growth on small businesses and on entrepreneurs, it is these hard working, risking taking types that are going to turn our economy round. From a career perspective I think its worth making comment on all of this.
Firstly if Cameron thinks that the employment problems in this country are going to be dealt with through entrepreneurs setting up and by extension employing others into these enterprises then it is worth asking how these entrepreneurs are going to be supported. The traditional center right answer is normally cut red tape and provide a bit of extra finance (both have been mentioned by Cameron and Osborne recently). This seems to paint a picture of a society of potential entrepreneurs who need a push in the right direction.
I really doubt this implication but more than that it begs the question why some more personal support is not being offered, business advisers, coaches, enterprise experts. Whatever you call them surely you need someone who can educate someone of all ages into what enterprise involves and help them develop some of the critical thinking and know-how to strike out by themselves. For me the gap between well delivered careers advice and business coaching is fairly minimal so what I am really arguing is for an actual national careers service (rather than the light weight option we currently see). I guess though that the Tories don’t see things like this and have no stomach for providing this sort of support, employing people into state sector jobs to provide services is not their strong suite…
Secondly it is worth glancing at how Cameron is idealizing the work force. It seems he is looking to a nation of rugged individualistic go-getters mainly in private sector jobs with plenty of start ups, SMEs and sole traders. At the very least this paints a picture of a continually shrinking sector and less and less jobs which are about the state helping people and more and more roles about the private sector helping itself “get on”. This should inform our practice in terms of LMI. The further thought though as we approach a general election is what part should careers advice play as a political entity with a voice about the shape and makeup of our future economy. Is it time we moved past accusations of self-interest to a robust interest in a wider political discussion. Sounds like a question worth asking?