I run a small business in Wales. The company has grown from strength to strength in the past year, and since Christmas I have even been able to create a further five jobs. The positions created have in-house management training opportunities attached, there are no formal educational requirements - just the eagerness to learn and develop.
Many individuals claim that there are too many barriers to work, such as education, the availability of work and the flexibility of work. The five positions created all have flexibility, and as mentioned there are no formal entry requirements. However, last week I cleared my schedule so that I could interview a further batch of candidates nearly five months after the jobs had been created.
There is certainly no lack of applicants - approximately 50 per day. Unfortunately, though, the majority don’t answer their phones or return messages, and of the 20 applicants booked in for interviews this week alone, only one has shown up. And this after a lengthy telephone conversation and a confirmation text confirming our location and times.
As a small business owner, recruitment is the biggest drain on my time. Much of that time should be used to generate more business and grow the company even further, which in turn would create even more jobs and wealth. In recent weeks both the UK and Welsh Governments have been talking about reduced unemployment rates of 6.8 per cent in Wales (6.9 per cent nationally). But I would argue that the problem hasn’t disappeared, it has just moved.
The welfare state is a massive burden on taxpayers, and rather than the national or Welsh Governments tackling the problem they are merely exasperating it. A coherent approach to helping the unemployed back to work has to be adopted, rather than benefits for life. Alex Wild wrote in this morning's City AM on conditional welfare - that would be a good place to start.