According to a recent survey, when young Britons hear the word "industry" they automatically think of computers, technology and "success". But for older workers the word has much more negative connotations of smokestacks, coal mines, dirt and strikes.
There seems to be a bit of a battle going on over winning the hearts and minds of the latest generation of workers. Large companies are complaining that prospective employees lack basic skills, and people already in employment are complaining that the latest recruits don't know the real meaning of "industry".
To have been taught in a way which is unacceptable to an employer is not the fault of an individual. None of us has any choice over the type of schooling we receive.
Large companies have ample means to get over this problem. They are making bigger profits that at any time in history. If they want people to do what they want them to do - they should train them in house.
As to the spat over the meaning of ' industry,' Well …. This generation may not have got its grammar taped but it is inherently more knowledgeable and sophisticated than any that has gone before. And when a library of infinite knowledge is at your beck and call why retain stuff in your head?
The internet and mobile phones have made current school leavers the first humans ever to be able to connect instantly with anyone whenever and wherever they want. From the day they were born they have had immediate access to the world. They can contact the White House or Disney World any time night or day and receive a reply. They can Google the answer to any question they could possibly wish to ask.
Instant communication has a down side. It has gathered all the problems of the world and dumped them in their laps. Small wonder then that anything that is candy to the eye and froth to the mind has become so key in their lives. Frivolity protects them from the overload of human angst that comes with the new territory.
Instead of large companies complaining that the latest generation does not fit into old patterns of work, their management teams should fast be designing new patterns. They need to act whilst the edge of their jig-saw is still firmly in place because inside the perimeter some of the pieces are beginning to mutate, meld and shrink at random.
The meaning of industry is definitely changing.