By Martin Ellis

The Skills Shortage is a pain in the arse for everybody. And the Economy. There are no winners.

It’s easy to moan about it. Especially if you’re in recruitment. Getting candidates to match what employers need isn’t easy, and when you find one, you need to move like a greased weasel on speed or they’ll get lost to another offer.

Indeed, my colleague Harriet Finch and I were getting dead mardy about it the other day. She was in a real grump, and I was probably worse. I’d also just read in The Economist that “Britain’s problem is not that it has too many fat cats but that it has too few good bosses…..the real enemy is David Brent. Britain has too many second-rate, sloppy, oafish managers of the sort of the sort characterised by Ricky Gervais in The Office”.

Not good. Not good at all.

Harriet is 25. She is part of a generation that has been let down by my generation. She is ambitious and something of a sponge when it comes to learning, much like many of her age. We talk the young down too easily.

I am 62. I am part of a generation that has let down our younger generation. I feel a need to do something to help address the balance.

(I’m quite happy to debate this with anyone who disagrees).

We decided to get our heads together and see if we could do something positive, rather than moan about it. Moaning was getting us nowhere, apart from closer to misery and visiting the pub a little earlier.

The Next Generation Network is born!

This is something any recruitment company could do. It’s easy. It just takes willing hands and a sense of purpose.

The Next Generation Network is aimed at an audience that is hungry to learn and grow, and develop their careers. They will learn from each other, and also from guest speakers who will be invited to speak on a huge range of topics from Sales to Social Media, Public Speaking to Profit and Team Leadership to Technology. Held on the last Friday of every month just outside Robertsbridge in East Sussex. Here’s a link:

Harriet Finch is in the Chair. That’s a big development opportunity for her. And it also says to those we wish to attract that they’re our focus. It would be too easy to make me Chair. Sometimes our society takes the easy option. I’ll just be the Wise Owl.

The response has been fantastic, but not just from our target audience. The older generation has stepped up to the plate and willing to share their expertise and experience – even at 7.30 in the morning.

Our first guest speaker is Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill. He’s going to talk about the future of the local economy and its impact on the next generation. After that Ted Brown, Chairman of the Energy Saving Trust, is going to discuss the difference between Management and Leadership.

Good start eh?

It’s not costing lots of money. It just takes a bit of cussedness to batter down the obstacles and to get some leverage on the goodwill in the wider business community to get up early and share what they know.

If you know anybody who lives in East Sussex and would benefit from joining us, please share it.

And the rest of you recruiters could do the same.

Just complaining gets us nowhere.

Martin Ellis is the Headhunter at the RSE Group. He’s promised to sit quietly at the back during the network’s meetings. Frankly, we don’t believe him.