0 The Reaper of Doom

HeadlinesSo, let's have a look at the Reaper of Doom as it travels over the horizon into 2011 and beyond. More people unemployed, more businesses closed, lots less. Government money (money we pay in numerous taxes) for our local services, numerous wars with service people from all nations and civilians being killed.

The world is getting too hot (or is it too cold depending on the expert?), the various governments who got this or that wrong, don't forget the people at the top with all the money and especially the banking bonuses, and corrupt politicians, whilst not forgetting the youth of today (sorry the word youth should be changed to young people or it's not PC!).

It's amazing how all the bad news makes news, so we think there isn't any good news.

Well, sorry to upset those who like to wallow in misery with the Reaper of Doom, but those of us having some mature years to our names (older) have seen all this mess before. That's not saying it's not difficult times or it's not going to be hard to achieve a recognised recovery. I am not looking at it with rose tinted glasses - what

I am saying is that there is a lot of good going on and we just need to recognise it, talk about it and make it news.

Have you seen Coronation Street's traumatic story with the tram, EastEnders, with its who done it murder, Emmerdale with its latest fire and Viv from the post office no more! How tragic, how sad. The tears in my eyes, the lump in my throat - only because I have my fingers down there and want to be sick! Shock, horror. Sorry to tell you it's not real, I don't watch them, but I know what happens because it's talked about and printed in the tabloids every day!

Did you see the programme in 2010 when young people were rewarded for their kindness, bravery and courage, with commitment to their families and others before themselves? Their peers respect them; they have self respect, manners with a willingness to help, now that's real, that brought real tears and a genuine lump to my throat. And there are lots more like them!

Working in the outside environment, I meet people who think they are only a gardener, a grass cutter, a labourer or 'cheap labour', being given the worst jobs because they have only just left school, college or university. In a few cases that's true, but not in most.

When I left school and started work on January 2nd 1970 at 15 years old (yes, the wheel was round by then) as an apprentice on a local parks department, my first weeks wage was £4.2/6d for 40hrs of work (in modern terms approximately 11p per hour).

On my first day I was put in the cemetery, hedgecutting hawthorn with hand held loppers in a hard white frost, having to make tea at brew time and brush up for everyone else.

Over forty years later I can still use a brush, make cups of tea, while now having the experiences of all those years learning a professional craft that is respected throughout the world, and not feel it's beneath me to do so.

Yes, I did say professional craft, because that is what you in the industry of your choice are - professionals, with standards of learning, education and commitment which, around the world, is recognised as the best. This not only gives you the opportunity to achieve the levels of success in this country, but anywhere in the world you desire.

"I can't" or "I don't want to because" can be your biggest barriers to a future

Success is what you want it to be, and is not measured by the money in your purse or wallet, the size of your car, your house, or how many holidays you have in a year, that's all material and not necessary (okay, I don't have any of these). Success can be measured on what you do and how well you do it. Do you encourage others to learn the skills you have, all the time encouraging them to be better than you? Do you keep an open minded about new advancements and technologies?

So, how do you become a professional at what you do?

Learn your craft practically and technically in the workplace, at a good college, independent training, and through books and magazines - these can be loaned at libraries (that's usually a building full of these items, and fast becoming a thing of the past if we are not careful). Research on the internet, and at trade shows, travel a lot, learn from people you work with - yes, that includes the mature person who has done the same job for forty years, who is committed to the industry, because, once they retire, you have lost all that valuable experience to tap into. And don't forget to learn from your own experiences.

How you learn is down to you - everyone learns at a different pace or in a different way. Some of your learning will follow a structured route, there's no getting away from that, just stick at it, help is always there if you ask.

This is a time employers need to grasp with both hands, this is a time when good training will give great future rewards, think about the cost of not being prepared for that new contract which requires you to have trained competent operatives, the possibility of reduced insurance cost. Having a team of people who know you are willing to invest in them can be a great incentive.

Then there is the Government (bet they don't print this bit). It needs to realise that cutting funds for training is foolhardy. This country will go down the toilet pan if we do not train or re-train continually, especially now. Not just the hi-tech skills but all skills, right across the board. Penny wise and pound foolish is an old saying, but that's what we face now; not continuing with established training programmes that work does not make sense.

In the real world of work and business, if it works they improve on it, they build on good previous experience and skills, and that is what this government needs to do.
So, in 2011, let's see if we can kick the Reaper of Doom where it hurts - it won't be easy, but life in general isn't.

There is opportunity, there is training, there are skills to learn, however young or mature (old) you are. Let's lift you with our industry to the heights of recognition it deserves, stop saying "I am only a" or "I can't because".

Remember, you are professional, and you are the best. Let's see some of the good in the news.

I have written this article based on my observations and these are my views. I am experienced, I am qualified practically and technically, I am a professional, but I am still always willing to learn from experience, training and other people, because you never know it all.

Richard Murray,
RWT Real World Training. richardm.realworldtraining@tesco.net

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