Employers don’t appreciate skills

I read a comment that you posted on 20 May 2008 regarding the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (CFS) Employability Skills project and the DIUS ‘training quality standard kite mark scheme’.

Do we need them indeed? I would tend to agree with your remarks. I would also like to add that I believe a large number of employers do not have the capacity to understand and appreciate the generic knowledge and skills that some applicants bring to the positions advertised, even when the applicant takes great care to highlight them against the specifications.

I was made redundant in June 2007 and I have not been able to find employment since, despite casting quite a wide net across different job roles that I could potentially undertake by repackaging and highlighting my transferable knowledge and skills, which are mostly in project management and also some training.

Unfortunately, it seems the selection process is fairly myopic – ie, fails to value high-quality, generic knowledge and skills and focus on specific details that could be acquired quite easily because of the generic competencies and skills of an applicant. As a result, over-qualification becomes just as much a barrier to returning to employment than a fundamental lack of generic knowledge and skills.

The consequences are devastating: 14 months unemployed, I am a lone parent professional. We are losing everything I worked for, and I have no support. Difficulties are likely to grow now the financial crisis is kicking in. I cannot believe I am still unemployed. I am drained and would welcome any advice anyone may have.

Any suggestions are very welcome. Voluntary work seems to be the panacea that everyone speaks about. At local level, the opportunities are limited in terms of the real learning/employment value, or future opportunities. Commuting to London to be a volunteer is not realistic. Also, the craze for voluntary work takes little account of the fact that £60.50 income-based jobseekers allowance for someone who still family responsibilities means I have no resources to subsidise these efforts.

Dr Michele Javary, East Sussex

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