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What with the disruption of employment at the moment when shortages rule the roost it is time to rethink a few things related to “work”, that word tasks a back seat to “employment” these days!

About 20 years ago if my memory is right, an Australian psephologist, Salt by name, was developing the view that in about twenty years from then the developed world would be in a tussle with each other to provide workers in hospitality, food, infrastructure, and the like. Perhaps Covid is getting the blame for the shortages that are hitting economies over much of the world. 

Of course, quite a number of people have for some time been predicting the demise of many of the jobs. We now cry out for workers to fill the shortages in those very same sectors. Their predicted demise never came, and we are now in something of a predicament. Jobs will change but the basic fundamentals will stay – it’s the wood gives way to plastic syndrome rather than the wood will disappear. That “many of the jobs that exist now will disappear” is simply a myth. The basic skills of building a house will still be there. Yes, perhaps kitset construction will take over, more metal will appear on the sites but at the hands of carpenters and other traditional “Woodie” types.

Here is a list of jobs that will not disappear:

 Chefs, Hospitality Workers, Dieticians / Nutritionists / Health Sciences / Education / Artists /Cyber Security Experts / Conservation Scientists / Dentists / Data Scientists / Marketing Design /Advertising / Professional of many kinds / Social Workers / and all the people needed to support these jobs. Those who predict the demise of jobs could perhaps have a competition to see who can name jobs that have not been listed. Of course, employment will continue, and the basic skills are so critical. And we haven’t mentioned the jobs in the cracks, Biotechnicians, medical workers and so on. This is where the “new jobs” will emerge.

And those who killed the youth labour market have something to answer for. When I taught at Papatoetoe High School which was close to the Otahuhu Railway Workshop there was cause to pause to remember this great entrée to work. It was an annual request of up to 50 or 60 people to take up an apprenticeship. The great onslaught to privatise the Post Office, the Public Works, and many more wonderful opportunities, for those at the bottom of entry to the workforce those who would learn by “sitting next to Harry and Nellie” saved many people who went on to serve the community through work. The youth labour market was destroyed. Hon Bob Tizard once told me that we lost 80% of our apprenticeships during that time!

Perhaps there needs to be a bob-a-job programme such as we used to have in our youth if you were a Boy Scout. Do the job, do the mahi as we currently say, and the reward is doing the job. 

Above all, getting back to stressing that what young ones are doing in school has something to do with employment and that means JOBS.

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