Monday, April 29, 2013

Filling the Skills Gap: Singing & Dancing All the Way!

Kiss Me Kate by Cole Porter is one of my very favourite musicals.   It retells the story of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ and wins on so many levels  - a musical number every few lines, memorable tunes and comic gangsters singing ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ – what more could you want?   On Friday evening, I went to see a wonderful performance of this show at the Royal Northern College of Music by their Youth Peform group.   All the roles were taken by teenage students and pupils from local schools and colleges and they were terrific. 

You may be wondering what the link is with L&D.  The RNCM  Youth Peform group is part of the outreach programme by the College and was originally funded by AimHigher, the programme established to raise young people’s aspirations  and to widen participation in higher education.   Whilst many of the performers at the weekend hope for careers in music and theatre, others plan to become doctors and police officers.

It got me thinking about all the different ways that L&D and our organisations can support young people in their transition to work and at the same time develop the skilled people we need now and in the future.   Here are some ways we can be involved:

ü Offer well planned and structured work experience to school pupils.  Many pupils find that the work experience offered isn’t nearly as effective as it could be.   This should be an opportunity to build employer brand and communicate meaningfully what skills and knowledge your business requires from education and from potential employees.

ü Get involved with Apprenticeships, if you aren’t already.  There is a new report out from CIPD  which gives information on parents’ views on Apprenticeships  and this can be found at

ü Build links with colleges and universities around courses supporting key skills and qualification areas for your organisation.  Where are your current or likely future skills gaps?

ü On a personal level, you could get involved in mentoring a young unemployed person through CIPD’s Steps Ahead Mentoring Scheme.  Current mentors meet face to face or via phone/Skype and report it to be a very rewarding programme to be involved in.  Information is available via CIPD or the dedicated Facebook page for the scheme.



Even as I write this article, I notice that a report by PwC indicates that almost 65% of UK business leaders say that skills shortages are ’hampering business growth’ (People Management 29 April 2013).  What are we waiting for?

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy specialises in the development of L&D professionals, blended learning and evaluation

Follow me on Twitter @BurnhamLandD


No comments:

Post a Comment