By investing, I mean investing in training or re-training, fostering innovation and invention and putting money and opportunity behind an idea to support its inception right through to fruition. I also mean for all age groups! I cannot count the amount of schemes and training opportunities I have become excited about only to discover it is only available for 18-24 year olds. For some reason this is a magical age group to the government.
I would like to remind the government that people of all age groups and walks of life can be dynamic, innovative and hold the potential to be future employers. I personally would like to see the same training and retraining opportunities for all ages, allowing people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond to get a fresh start when things go wrong. I would like to see on the job training, apprenticeships and programmes without age restrictions. If we are expected to work for longer, then the government has to realise that retraining is going to be needed for people throughout their working and educational lives. Learning does not stop at 24.
As do many people, I have a degree I acquired quite a long time ago. I wanted to use the skills I obtained and build my own small business. However, because I have a degree it precludes me from receiving funding to train specifically. Luckily, people power is becoming a much greater force in the western world than the governments supposedly elected to work for us. Due to the influence of the internet we can support one another. We now have crowd funding and micro loans from private bodies. It may be the way forward.
However, this is my main bugbear. The government here are obsessed with throwing vast amounts of money and training to a specific age demographic only. Just think how many talented and industrious people that could be contributing to society and their quality of life that are being largely neglected! Not so long ago I spoke to a gentleman in his late 50s who was an ex-marine. He had fallen on hard times and wanted to take a short training course to start his own security business. Six weeks training and this man would not only have been off benefits, but would have become a local employer. Would the Job Centre release such training or funds? Take a guess.
I do not like to write an article full of problems and woes. I care a great deal that people should have the opportunity to explore within education and employment whatever their age. Until the government stops looking at demographics and starts seeing people and communities, we will just have to rely on each other. Hopefully I will return to this topic armed to the teeth with ideas, answers and possibilities to share!