1/04/2006

The Nine-Inch Nail of Language

According to the BBC, a Kent builder called Dean Osmon has had a stern talking to from a 'diversity and race equality team' after placing a Jobcentre advert insisting upon applicants fluent in written and spoken English.
One does hope Mr.Osmon couldn't care less - but it's fascinating to see just how prehistoric the attitudes of the diversity brigade are towards language. Although perhaps grateful for their help in diminishing his wage bill, Mr. Osmon may have grown tired of having to explain the same thing again and again to Janusz and Tomasz, who, although utterly deficient in English language skills, both have skin tones as white as the driven snow.
But the diversobots assume that such a requirement must be racial in origin; they need diversity training.
And they have clearly never had to consider such trifles as the possible increases faced by Mr.Osmon in both his employer's and occupiers' liability insurance premia if Janusz has a fall because he can't understand what Mr. Osmon has told him to do. Vibrant immigration may be - but on a building site, the ability to understand instructions is more important.
After all, the easiest words for most language learners to pick up are the short ones, with pointed meanings - like 'sue'; or 'court'.
And when it comes to criticising hiring choices based on language skills, Jobcentre Plus should not throw stones at its own great glass house.

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