As we edge out of a recession, it's essential for a business to have the right mix of skills to ensure survival. In the UK, whether we have the right skills in the workplace is a subject that attracts much attention. Just last month the CBI described the UK's skills shortage as critical across a number of our key industries.
The CBI also rightly pointed out that to remain competitive and fuel long-term growth we need to address the situation on two levels: first, school leavers' skills (as they leave without proper work experience) and, second, the confidence of highly skilled workers.
To focus on one specific skill that has been left wanting, let's look at presentation. This could be either presenting an idea to a colleague, a meeting to your team or a pitch to a potential new client.
In the working environment, this is something many of us have to do in one form or another, on a weekly (if not daily) basis. Over the years I have sat through numerous mind-numbing, poorly presented events, and come across many examples where people haven't had the basic skills or confidence to deliver engaging or, most importantly, sales-driving presentations to our audiences.
Our research has suggested that students are not receiving adequate presentation training at school or university. In my view, this leads to them entering the workplace extremely qualified in most aspects but not in others.
Many new starters simply lack the solid presenting skills that businesses need. On top of this, a sizable chunk of UK corporations are not investing in areas such as presentation training for employees, which must only make our situation worse.
If presenters, and businesses as a whole, want to keep their audiences (and the potential profits they may be the key to) engaged, it is important that the UK's overall presentation abilities improve. An essential part of this lies not only in training but with a strong understanding of how technology – projectors, PowerPoint, interactive whiteboards – can be used to enhance the experience.
The responsibility for developing this corporate understanding must, in part, land with resellers, which have the technology, expertise and relationships to educate business and workers alike on the significance of installing the right equipment to deliver the right results.
This channel-to-corporate approach may well include training programmes that bridge the current gap, alongside standard practice technology services and high-quality deployments that tackle existing weaknesses.
However, one thing remains clear: an under-equipped workforce will not perform as well as it could – and this means potentially reduced profits. So it is down to corporates, resellers and employees working together, sharing their respective expertise, to reverse the expansion of the current skills shortage.
Gemma Platt is product marketing manager at Casio Electronics
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