Monday, 31 January 2011

Using Volunteers to a certain degree

On Friday I was looking at how occupational therapists were being replaced by volunteers (friends and relations or anyone else who happened to be handy). Yesterday the question on the local edition of the Politics Show was whether volunteers could work in libraries. The answer is yes. We saw someone filling the book shelves in the correct order. I am sure that volunteers could say hello, point people in the right direction and stamp books in and out. Sometimes advice is needed but I think we should leave that to qualified librarians.

The problem is where do we draw the line? The manager for the library service felt that everything was fine with volunteers. You can imagine the manager a few years ago saying everything was fine without volunteers. If we put a freeze on any post that requires just a little training then that would mean many people with degrees would not be employed. So the argument that we need a highly educated workforce needs to be balanced with the support for the use of volunteers with their more basic knowledge.

My answer, as I have written previously, is that we don't need so many people to have so much expertise, certainly not for employment purposes. Education is great but we are going about it in a very expensive way.

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