RANDOM THOUGHTS

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Well, I’m not entirely sure where they are going to recruit the *lower-paid hospital workers or care workers in future.

Great opportunities for British workers, I hear to say.

From what I gather, the UK unemployment rate is under 4%, a figure usually taken to mean full employment, given that at any time a certain number of people will be simply between jobs.

(Of course, in fairness, we cannot ignore the fact that the government cheats on that figure. People on zero-hour contracts are classed as in employment; those working a few hours a week are classed as in employment. So although they claim benefits, they aren’t counted in the unemployment figures.)

But even at that, the bulk of the people who are unemployed now, will probably be relatively unattractive to employers for a variety of different reasons, many of which are not their fault.

There are a large number of people in their late 50s and 60s. Those who were born in the middle to late 1950s and who do not enjoy the best of health or who are simply not sufficiently fleet of foot (and/or typing fingers) to satisfy today’s target-driven-culture bosses… more, more,  more.

There are also in the four countries of the UK, a fair number of people who have drink and drugs issues and there are a not insubstantial number who have prison sentences (remember Michael Howard’s “Prison Works” mantra?) which render them unsuitable for jobs in many different sectors but particularly those working with vulnerable people.

Some time ago, I worked on a project designed to get people into work, so I know a little about these problems. Employers are not interested unless you are quick, flexible, fit, unlikely to be off work, well presented, and frequently, although they wouldn’t admit it, of attractive appearance (catering businesses).

Of course, it isn’t unreasonable to expect someone to be able to speak the language reasonably well (although some native-born Brits fail at that), but we need to remember that, as my granny would say, “whit’s guid tae gie’s no ill tae tak”.

I know a guy who worked as a welder in the Netherlands. He didn’t speak a word of Dutch, but he was fine there because his supervisor and most of his colleagues spoke passable English, he could get cable tv from England or USA. The job was great, conditions marvellous, transport first rate. There was only one problem. His girlfriend was back in Scotland. They wanted to be together. But she was an office worker and office workers have to be able to speak Dutch, so he came home.

But I bet there are a lot of other Brits in various places in Europe who can’t speak more than a few words of the language, but who, for example, work in the tourist trade… I’m thinking of bars in the Costas. I wonder what their futures look like tonight.

* NHS England starting salaries: Nurse £24.2k; Paramedic £24.2k; Midwife £24.2k; Radiographer £24.2k; Care assistant £17.6k; Physiotherapist £24.2k ; Therapist £24.2k

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It appears that Air Miles Fatboy is spending a quiet evening with his ex-wife and their two “blood princesses” to celebrate his 60th birthday tonight. I was much amused by the fact that people were complaining on Twitter about government buildings in England not flying the UK flag to celebrate his big day. It was, they said, an insult to the queen.

 Prince Andrew pictured with his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie

But the Queen, who was due to attend his birthday celebrations, has found that she is otherwise engaged, as have, strangely enough, the rest of his family.

So it seems that she may not have felt that snubbed after all.

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