Engineer crisis threatens safety

first_imgEngineer crisis threatens safetyOn 3 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. A shortage of engineers in the rail industry could derail ambitious plans toimprove the infrastructure and rolling stock. A report by specialist recruiters Wynnwith Engineering claims the safetycrisis on the railways has damaged the image of the industry and is deterringengineers and graduates from seeking jobs in the sector. Its managing director Andy Pendlebury, said while attention had been focusedon safety, rolling stock and the infrastructure investment, “Attractingthe people to carry out the work could be the real challenge” A Railtrack spokesperson said, “We announced in December that we neededto recruit more engineers, but it is not in safety critical work.” The report was based on interviews with 25 rail companies. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Sounding out your ideas

first_img Previous Article Next Article Sounding out your ideasOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Many companies are taking advantage of independent advice on offer, ElaineEssery looks at how training coaches are benefiting some business peopleNo serious sportsperson would be without a coach to help them develop theirtalents and bring out the best in them, but many business people are missingout on the benefits. Far from giving you the answers and telling you what todo, a coach acts as a powerful sounding board, enabling you to decide foryourself on the best course of action. Coaching can help the individual and the organisation to grow. Some trainingprofessionals are lucky enough to have a coach, others would like the chance. We asked: what is a coach doing for you or what would a coach do for you? Carol MadeleyHR director, AutoglassMy own experience of having a coach, and those of the managers I work within the company, is that a coach is an objective aid to facilitate problemsolving. Coaching offers process support rather than focusing on content. An external coach has the advantage of not being caught up in the companyculture and a good one can bring reference points from outside experience,which is particularly helpful for managers who have grown up within thecompany. In terms of performance management, when you have an agreed work plan andcontract with a coach, it gives you challenges over and above those set by yourline manager, so having a coach is not a soft option. Ian LawsonDirector of training and development, Lyreco UKIf I had the opportunity to have a personal coach it would enable me tostand back from day-to-day operations and look at key aspects of the job andwhether I’m on target to achieve my personal and business goals. It would helpme focus on my long-term vision and develop a future plan. It’s good to do a‘health check’ and see what skills you need to brush up on or what extra toolsyou’re going to need for your toolkit to continue to make a difference to theorganisation in the next few years. Another benefit of coaching is having an independent evaluation of whatyou’re doing, with someone asking you challenging questions to make you thinkabout your priorities. Aileen DownieTraining and development manager, GNERWe actively encourage coaching as a management style within our culture andhave appointed coaches for some managers. The benefit I would get by having an external coach is that they bring moreobjectivity and encourage a better work-life balance and prioritisation. As the training and development manager for the company, I liaise withothers across the business who have training and development as part of theirrole. It would be useful to speak to somebody about training and developmentwithout any slant or bias about what is needed in this business, which wouldallow me more objectively to think through some options. But a coach is not theperson who would be able to then give you solutions. Tim MartlandHead of HR and training, Hammicks BookshopsAlthough training is often seen as something outside the workplace – likegoing on a course – for us, by far the most important thing is the internalside of the operation. If we had people who could coach new managers, it wouldmake an enormous difference. It would depend where the coach came from, but I think I’d use a coach tohelp with training needs analysis, particularly in the areas of the businesswhich I’m less familiar with, so I would be spending a limited budget wisely. Acoach would, hopefully, help me ask the right questions, make the right choicesabout what was required, then choose the right suppliers of training to matchthe need. Alison ClarkeDivisional learning and development director, Whitbread RestaurantsI go into a coaching session either with a difficult business decision I’mfacing or with something behavioural I want to talk about. Having a coach helps me structure and test the rigour of my thinking. It’s away of rehearsing something in private because a coach can put all sides of theargument, the potential objections and emotions, so you can test how you’regoing to respond. It’s also a de-stresser, as you can download things in a safe, confidentialenvironment to help you get to the nub of the issue and start to resolve it. A coach is an objective facilitator, whose role it is to draw your ownthinking, encourage you to search your experiences and come up with your ownoptions. last_img read more

Project aims to fill skills gap in transport sector

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. A training scheme to encourage more young people into the transport industryis being rolled out nationally by logistics company Christian Salvesen. Ray Barnes, HR director of Christian Salvesen’s industrial division, saidthe sector is facing a massive skills shortage and the company decided it mustattract more young people to help it address the problem. “There is anational shortage [in the sector], and by 2005, there will be a shortfall of137,000,” he said. The Young Driver Training Scheme, successfully piloted in Northampton,allows young people aged 16 to 19 to train for a nationally-recognised NVQLevel 2 in Transporting Goods by Road, and to obtain their LGV Class C drivinglicence before the usual age of 21. Trainees accepted onto the 18-month schemewill be taught about all aspects of logistics, including warehousing,traffic-office administration and customer services. Successful trainees will be able to work as drivers to progress to their LGVC+E licence, and be given opportunities to move into traffic-office operationsand logistics management roles. Barnes said quality training and a clear career path will also help theindustry to appeal to a wider range of people, he said. Project aims to fill skills gap in transport sectorOn 5 Nov 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

CD-Rom provides some useful pointers

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. CD-Rom provides some useful pointersOn 1 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today The Vaccination Administration Taskforce (VAT) issued its booklet entitledUK Guidance on Best Practice in Vaccine Administration just over 12 months ago,and it has proved immensely popular, with 30,000 practitioners requestingcopies. To complement the booklet, it produced a free CD-Rom entitled Gettingto the Point along with a website. The VAT developed the clinical guidelines following a healthcare surveyundertaken in 2001, in which 96 per cent of the 500 nurses surveyed reportedthat they required more information and guidance on injection techniques andvaccine administration. The taskforce consists of seven specialist nurses including Gail Cotton,past-president of the AOHNP, a GP and Dr Jane Zuckerman, a travel medicineconsultant. The guidance in the booklet, CD-Rom and website is clear, concise andcomprehensive, and is useful to all practitioners who administer vaccinationsas a means of setting standards for best practice and professional updating. The VAT also provides training for practitioners new to immunisations. Asthe chairman of the RCN Travel Health Forum comments: “They provide aninvaluable educational and learning tool for healthcare professionals”. All three formats are easy to use. The video elements of the CD-Rom andwebsite which show preparation and administration of the vaccine, together withchoice of needle are particularly useful. It reassured me that I was followingbest practice and that my methods were correct and up-to-date. The quiz helpsto reinforce knowledge and confidence, and everything was well referenced toensure ‘evidence-based practice’. However, I had two concerns. The nurse shown washing her hands beforepreparing the injection is still wearing a wristwatch, and from previousexperience I know that this is not correct procedure. And downloading thewebsite’s training programme power point slides takes 27 minutes with a 56modem (but it takes just a few seconds from the CD-Rom). These guidelines are essential for all occupational health nurses who carryout vaccinations. It is important to use Getting to the Point together with thehard copy, UK Guidance on Best Practice in Vaccine Administration, which can bedownloaded from either format. Visit the website or obtain your free copy of theCD-Rom straight away. By Greta Thornbory Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

Partnership needs to be back on HR agenda

first_imgPartnership needs to be back on HR agendaOn 4 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Common sense has for once prevailed in the review of a piece of employmentlaw. The DTI has sensibly decided to tinker with, rather than overhaul, theEmployment Relations Act 1999. The unions wanted the Government to extend trade union recognition law andincrease staff rights. But Alan Johnson, employment relations minister, turneddown demands for a reduction in the 40 per cent worker threshold that triggersunion recognition ballots. The law is working just fine, he says. Unions should need a mandate among employees before gaining recognition, andemployers will be relieved by the decision. But union leaders have responded bycalling it a great victory for bad employers. As with all employment law, union recognition will only work for everyoneinvolved if all parties embrace it. Hopefully, BSkyB’s recently departed HRdirector is the exception rather than the rule – you cannot expect to avoidunion recognition by threatening your staff. If enough employees wantrepresentation, then it is HR’s duty to support the process and make the union relationshipwork. The concept of partnership is starting to feel a little hollow in thesetimes of turbulent employment relations. And yet a genuine commitment is neededmore than ever. The forthcoming information and consultation directive – whichwill force employers to communicate with the workforce ahead of structuralchanges – will significantly change work relationships. If employers continueto treat consultation as a dirty word, and if unions fail to be more realisticabout their roles and understand business drivers, then law will have toprevail and opportunities will be wasted. Mike Broad is assistant editor of Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Government aims for 25 skills councils by 2004

Government aims for 25 skills councils by 2004On 22 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article The Government has announced ambitious plans to get 25 Sector SkillsCouncils (SSCs) up and running by the summer of 2004 in its Skills StrategyWhite Paper. 21st Century Skills – Realising Our Potential: Individuals, Employers,Nation identifies a network of SSCs as key to identifying and delivering theskills employers need to raise productivity. The Government claims that the Skills for Business Network will create a newemployer-led approach to developing skills and boosting productivity. Sector Skills Councils are employer-led training bodies that replaced theNational Training Organisations last March. SSCs will cover 90 per cent of the UK workforce in 12 months’ time, says theGovernment. However, only two councils have been fully licensed so far. TheWhite Paper recognises “concerns about delays and bureaucracy”. Ros Barker, HR director at Ladbrokes, who is helping establish an SSC tocover the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector, said development todate had been frustrating. “There is no evidence that the problems are being ironed out, but wehave to hope lessons will be learned from the vanguard,” she said. The skills strategy also proposes SSCs should work with Regional DevelopmentAgencies and Learning and Skills Councils to address regional skills shortages. read more

Call for radical cut in number of vocational awards

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article The national qualifications framework is set for a major shake-up if theviews of David Sherlock, chief inspector of the Adult Learning Inspectorate(ALI), are heeded. Sherlock is calling for a reduction in the number of vocational andoccupational qualifications from the current 2,000 to around 100 and a cut inthe number of awarding bodies. Such a rationalisation, he says, should make thevocational education and training world more intelligible to learners andemployers, cut costs, and ensure that fewer people drop out because they havechosen the wrong programme. Sherlock denies that axing qualifications would reduce learner choice andlimit flexibility. “Instead of having a basic structure which is absolutely rigid andbuilding flexibility within it, we’ve ended up with literally thousands ofqualifications and a plethora of awarding bodies,” he said. “We’vestarted in the wrong place by inventing specialist qualifications rather thanhaving equality of opportunity, flexibility and transferability as the keydesign principles. If you start on that basis you can easily decide you want alimited number of building blocks with approved combinations, but with awide-ranging choice of units so you can tailor an award.” Having more of arecognised common core would enable people to transfer between programmeswithout huge loss if they were to move, change jobs or find themselves in thewrong slot, he said. And all vocational and occupational awards would offerladders to higher education. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) would be the key playerand it has been asked to bring forward to March 2004 its development of acredit accumulation and transfer system in line with the Government’s SkillsStrategy. Awarding bodies would also need to co-operate. “We can’t be held back from producing an award system by the pattern ofawarding bodies that we have at the moment,” said Sherlock. Steve Gale, operations manager at Avon Vale Training, a centre of vocationalexcellence for engineering training, agrees that cutting the profusion ofqualifications could be helpful, but has concerns about limiting choice. “I would be concerned that if we made qualifications too generic theywould have less value in industry,” he said. “We could have just oneNVQ in engineering as long as there were pathways into maintenance, productionand other areas. But we must not lose breadth and scope for specialisationwithin a core qualification: there has to be enough choice to cater for jobroles in our industry. Provided that the employer and candidate can see what’scovered and as long as we’re not devaluing or watering down the technicalcontent, it wouldn’t matter too much.” Phil Round, manager education and training at Jaguar Cars, believes Sherlockis right about the complexity of the existing situation. But he wants to gofurther in developing progression routes and ensuring people get credit fortheir achievements. “The Government quotes the percentage of people whoare qualified to level 2 and that’s not very high. If there were a push toaccredit all company training programmes I think you’d find a completelydifferent picture emerging. A lot of companies do training that gets no creditat all and we’ve never put onto the agenda how much that actually is. If wecould get FE colleges, the large training organisations and awarding bodiesplaying a role in that, wouldn’t it be great if on every course we had peoplegoing towards some sort of qualification.” Companies are aware of the training required to build the competences neededto become best in class, Round claimed. He would like to see a nationaltemplate that locked into qualifications to give everyone recognition andcorrect figures on skills levels. “When I look back over the last coupleof years my big wish is that all the training we’ve done here in Jaguar couldhave been accredited to give people recognition. What we’re trying to do is getthe complete pathway so that people can move from level 1 to level 5,” hesaid. By Elaine Essery Related posts:No related photos. Call for radical cut in number of vocational awardsOn 1 Jan 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

CSR lies at the heart of high performance

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. HR and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have a similar problem. Toomany organisations don’t understand their strategic fit with the overallbusiness strategy, although both are critical drivers of higher performance. This will not come as much of a surprise as far as HR is concerned –particularly to readers of Personnel Today – but the findings on CSR might. As The Work Foundation’s latest report, Achieving High Performance: CSR atthe Heart of Business argues, the evidence is now more convincing than everbefore that high-performance firms are more likely to have entrenched CSRstrategies. And we shouldn’t be so surprised. If you could travel back 400 years to thefounding of the first recognisable companies – the East India Company, forexample – you would find that its documents of incorporation are explicit aboutthe wider public benefits that must accrue from its private activities. In thiscase, it was the fact that it carried its cargoes in English vessels and paidduties to the Crown. This is at the other end of the spectrum to businessculture that says a company is no more than a network of contracts that areabout maximising its return to shareholders. Clarity of purpose helps to drive high performance, and only that – broadlydefined and including many practices that we describe as CSR – delivers strongreputations. CSR in a growing number of companies lies at the heart ofsustainable, high-performance business operations. Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) recent extension of its community programme,‘Marks & Start’, will help more than 10,000 of the most economicallyexcluded people in its first three years. But in addition, the programme is anintegral part of M&S’s investment in its staff, allowing hundreds ofemployees to develop mentoring, communication and managerial skills. BT has found that if it lost its positive reputation for its CSR activities,customer satisfaction levels would drop by 10 per cent. And more than 50 percent of all consumers have boycotted products for ethical reasons. One in fiveof all staff are influenced to work for employers, or stay working withemployers, who have reputations for better CSR practice. We now know that firms with a code of ethics tend to outperform those thatdon’t in the areas of economic value-added, market value-added and stability inits price/earnings ratio. And those in the manufacturing, business services andservices sectors that cite CSR as a primary or strong business focus are almosttwice as likely to have had profit growth in the past three years than thosethat do not. They are also almost twice as likely to have experienced anincrease in market share in the past three years. A thread runs through all these findings linking sophisticated HR managementpractices and CSR with business performance. The correlation is impossible toignore. It is time that business leaders finally accepted that CSR and highperformance are inextricably linked. By Will Hutton, Chief executive, The Work Foundation Comments are closed. CSR lies at the heart of high performanceOn 23 Mar 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Exaggerated exodus: Covid didn’t scramble people’s migration patterns

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* Full Name* “In many ways, the fundamentals in the data show that Austin is the next Austin,” CBRE research director Eric Willett told the paper.Net out-migration, where more people leave than arrive, accelerated most in big cities including New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. The greatest beneficiaries of that were metro areas surrounding big cities, where people can find more affordable real estate but still be within driving distance of downtowns.However, the influx of people coming to New York City is expected to outpace those who jump ship this month, according to a report by real estate consultant Nancy Packes Data Services and Eastdil Secured. The gap between the number of households changing their address to a zip code outside the city versus moving into the city has gradually decreased since May 2020.[NYT] — Orion JonesContact Orion Jones Tags Message* The report of the death of cities was an exaggeration, an analysis of 30 million change-of-address forms shows. (iStock)Cities won’t become post-apocalyptic graveyards and work-from-home urbanites won’t revive rural America.While many people moved away from New York City and San Francisco during the pandemic, migration patterns largely remained the same as before, according to an analysis by the New York Times. The analysis was based on the 30 million change-of-address requests made in 2020 to the U.S. Postal Service.Some smaller regional metros and vacation markets saw more residents come in. Still, metros like those in the Sun Belt that were gaining residents pre-pandemic saw gains; those in upstate New York and the Midwest continued to lose migrants.Read moreExodus over? NYC expected to turn corner in April Cities dying? Suburbs booming? Data don’t show it Marcus & Millichap CEO predicts “exodus” from cities to last two years Share via Shortlink Housing MarketRental MarketResidential Real EstateSan Franciscolast_img read more

The effect of damping on geomagnetic pulsation amplitude and phase at ground observatories

first_imgWe present some results from a model of forced oscillations of the magnetosphere. The purpose of this work is to examine the effects and consequences of damping on geomagnetic pulsations as observed on the ground. The aim of the current work is to quantify the amount of damping applicable to geomagnetic pulsation waveforms. Ionospheric conductivities vary with latitude and time of day and this variation will effect the damping of geomagnetic pulsations. The variations in ionospheric conductivities are taken into account to predict the changes in amplitude and phase of geomagnetic pulsations over an extended latitudinal array of ground observatories. Three situations are modelled where the damping factor γ/ωn, which is related to the amplitude loss per cycle, is different: (i) γ/ωn approximately equal to 0.01, this corresponds to the ionospheric Joule damping of Newton et al. (1978); (ii) λ/ωn equal to 0.1, this value is consistent with the empirically determined day-time damping factors from the observed latitude-dependent transient decays of the pulsation single effect events discussed by Siebert (1964). The value of 0.1 as the damping factor is taken as typical of day-time conditions and its effect on amplitude and phase for continuous pulsations is considered; and (iii) λ/ωn is latitude-dependent; three different levels of damping are used appropriate for the night-time conditions associated with the auroral electrojet, plasmatrough and plasmasphere. The results from the model suggest that observationally determined damping factors are greater than those computed from ionospheric Joule damping alone. The model also illustrates the broadening of the latitudinal resonance width with increasing damping and the reducing of the phase change across resonance to less than 180°. The model also successfully reproduces features of pulsation single effect events and Pi2 pulsations.last_img read more