Young govt workers blocked from progression by austerity, Unison members say

Young local government workers are being blocked from progressing in their careers after austerity measures led to cuts in training, Unison members have noted.

17 Jun 2019| News

Proposing a motion at the union’s 2019 Local Government Conference, Sarah Walsh explained that employers have begun relying on e-learning to save costs and that young members have consistently raised a lack of development opportunities as a problem in the workplace.

Jess Maguire from Lincolnshire County branch is one of the young workers that has found herself blocked from advancing in her career.

“When I’ve replied for higher-paid jobs, I’ve been told that I’m not experienced enough,” she said, adding that she eventually accessed training through Unison because her employer refused to offer training until she reached a higher grade.

“How do young workers progress if they’re in a situation where training is regarded as an expensive luxury?” Sarah Walsh concluded, noting that there are also local government workers on zero-hours contracts and for them the situation is even worse.

“You’d think younger workers would get more training than older workers,” Lorraine Thompson from the service group executive, said. “But it’s rarely the case.”

Conference heard how the reduction in training was hitting the employer and the economy at large as well as the workers and that shifting focus onto development the workforce benefits everyone.

Training existing staff to take on more senior roles is cheaper than recruitment and without adequate training there will be a skills gap in the future.

The Institute of Employment Rights agrees that workplace training is absolutely essential to help workers meet their potential and to support the economy as a whole. In our influential Manifesto for Labour Law – key proposals from which have been adopted by the Labour Party – our experts recommend that training programmes are agreed through collective bargaining at a sectoral level, allowing employers and workers to strategise for future skills needs.

Click here to read more about our Manifesto for Labour Law