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In a knowledge economy you need a well-informed workforce. In a services-led economy you need people who are equipped and ready to serve. But as the crisis of worker disengagement spreads around much of the world, managers are faced with a dilemma. Do people turn up to work "job ready"? What are the chances of them doing a decent day's work?
Pretty basic questions. Sadly, for some employees, by the time managers start investigating the gaps in their training and education it can be a little bit late. Rising unemployment numbers reflect the failure of education systems around the world to help prepare young people for the world around them.
Which is a long-winded way of introducing a superb new resource which has become available in the UK. Take a look at www.theday.co.uk This is a kind of on-line newspaper (and rolling news service) which takes complicated matters and explains them in clear terms, for school-age students. This new site already has an impressive depth to it, with video- and other links making it a rich source of material. The Day is designed for teachers who wish to enhance their lessons with authoritative commentary and added detail. (Today, with dramatic and fast-moving developments on the streets of Cairo, The Day has published an "Egypt special" - exactly the sort of thing that can keep young students engaged and informed.)
The quality of the product is hardly surprising, given the team behind it. Managing director Richard Addis is a seasoned newspaper professional (and innovator), while its editor Miranda Green [full diclosure - a friend] is a former FT correspondent and regular broadcaster. My old journalistic heartstrings are tugged by this product, too: here is a possible future for the newspaper business, getting young people to acquire a news habit they might not otherwise develop.
But most importantly of all this is about education. Just as good parents worry if their children have had a good enough breakfast before leaving for school in the morning, so we should be concerned about their intellectual development too. Ill-informed young people are not getting the start to the day they require.
Education is more – or should be more – than a crude and narrow process designed to prepare people for the world of work. It is about the development of the whole person. Being better informed about the world about us is part of that task. I wish The Day success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stefan Stern has been writing and commenting on business and management for the past two decades. He began his journalistic career at Euromoney, the financial publisher, where he became editor of Corporate Finance magazine. His next job was as features writer for International Management magazine, after which he joined the BBC, where he worked as a researcher for The Money Programme. He was head of media relations for The Industrial Society, a training and leadership development organisation, for three years, prior to returning to journalism as features editor for Management Today magazine. After a year on a fledgling management web site, FTdynamo.com in 2001, he worked as a freelance management writer for several years, before becoming the Financial Times's management columnist in early 2006. He wrote that column for over four years before joining Edelman in August 2010 as its new director of strategy. In October he was appointed Visiting Professor in management practice at the Cass business school, London. Stefan lives in south London. He is married with two daughters
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