Monday 12 January 2009

Jobs R Us

There has been a Jobs Summit today. Unions and Employers are there. But the sector? It is hard to get the Government to realise that the third sector is now a significant part of the economy. The broad third sector actually employs around 1.5 million people . We make a significant contribution to GDP. Yet the stereotype persists that we are small scale and mainly engaged in volunteering . Government has not yet caught up with the fact that our sector now earns more than it is given in donations. The figures (courtesy of my old friend Nick Aldridge) are that in 2006 charities got 30% of their income through grants and donations and 50% from trading or contracts. We are relatively big business these days.

So instead of thinking job creation as a private sector thing, we should be making the case that job creation can also occur through the third sector. And the fact is that in the areas the Government want to target; in particular, health, education and sustainability the sector is at the forefront of innovation and high quality delivery. So Gordon, why were we not at your Summit? Why are you not thinking of how our sector could be leading on the creation of jobs ; and jobs that are in meaningful and socially useful economic activity. Third sector organisations are SMEs too? And this is the sector that can expand volunteering "apprenticeships". There are a range of volunteering organisations with a lot of experience of full time volunteers going on into full time work. Now is an opportunity to look at full time volunteering as a way to gain skills for full time employment organisations like BTCV or Community Service Volunteers.

ACEVO is going to consult members on how we can lead recovery through job creation. This is the opportunity for us to be at the forefront of recovery. One of the things I have tried to do at acevo has been to get Government and society to see beyond a sector that is simply volunteers, or raffles; and sees us as a professional yet passionate part of both the social and economic framework of our country. We are more than just a sticking plaster on societies sores. We generate income and activity. We create jobs. And above all contribute to the well being of our society. So when I get agitated about all the attention being paid to banks and small business , it is because I believe that Government is missing a trick. Of course we need jobs in Nissan, but we also need jobs in regenerating our cities , in supporting the old and in promoting skills and learning for example.

And on a jollier note a nice email from my friend at the Lottery; Mr Wanless who sends me a Dilbert cartoon that is rather fun . See below! But I must stress this is not a reference to the practise at ACEVO! He also tells me he has a couple of new no excuse for him appearing tieless at functions, as has been his wont of late...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stephen - a plea.
Be different. Don't encourage the sector to think about 'creating jobs'. Encourage it to think about creating value. Encourage it to think about developing potential. Encourage it to think about engaging wasted talent and ability. About engaging wasted potential. If we focus on these things jobs wil come as a by product of the creative process. Show how the unique values of the third sector can lead to different and creative solutions. You would have learned little/nothing at the jobs summit.
When they focus on creating jobs they end up digging ditches and picking up litter. When we focus on facilitating potential we can get something very different.