I am now struck how the average age of those working in the industry, at all levels of business from trades to management, seems to be ever increasing.
This opens up a number of concerns, both from a health of those working and how to support those in the industry going forward.
Yes, it’s always been difficult to find the upcoming ‘youngsters’ and, in fairness, few have been attracted to the industry over the last decade - maybe because the industry can appear to be a closed shop to an outsider.
So whilst good work can be done on bringing youngsters in through an apprentice route, what can be practically done to help the ageing working staff left to fill the gaps for at least another decade?
Well, maybe we should be recognising the situation and start educating on livelihood and work life balance.
In terms of stress, fitness, nutrition and education help and support, I would judge we are quite poor as an industry in recognising the effects when this goes wrong - let alone actually supporting improvements.
Before you start to turn away and say: 'well that’s life' or 'companies have responsibilities' - please remember that the leisure marine sector has an unusually high proportion of owner operator and under five employee businesses.
This brings, trust me, a very direct set of issues for those people, who work literally at the coal face of the industry, with little time to think about the future effects and you would miss them if they were not there.
Come on, industry. Think about the welfare of your key assets and start about how you can help. Sign post programmes, sure, but practical help is what’s needed.
Who can provide guidance for the stress that’s created with the ever constant worry over work, payments, expenditure, and more?
What about support with nutrition and fitness programmes to help with the business and lifestyle challenges?
Is not this one of the great hidden challenges of our time now in the industry?
For the industry's sake, I hope that obsessions with fluffing up shows and unhelpful business support changes to supporting those in business.
Then, maybe, we can make it through the next decade.
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