iCloud Insecurity

Security is — or at least should be — a concern of everyone roaming the Internet. It is one thing to have to protect oneself from malicious hackers, dishonest merchants, and, sometimes, one’s own naivité. What we shouldn’t have to do, however, is protect ourselves from those who maintain they are providing services in our own best interests. Yesterday an article appeared in 20 Minutes Online that reveals just how insecure Apple’s iCloud is.
According to Apple’s terms and conditions, they can not only look at your data, they can also use it in ways other than you intended and they even demand the right to pass this data on to third-parties without your knowledge. This is bad enough for private users, but think about all the unwitting business people who due to lack of organizational resources perhaps (for example, small or medium-sized businesses who have to rely on commercially available services for inter-connectivity) have decided to use this technology to make themselves more effective in our increasingly global world. These conditions are reason enough to avoid Apple at any rate. Of course, to be fair, Google isn’t any better.
There are deeply rooted data-protection issues that need to be addressed, not just at the organizational, but more vigorously at the political level. The Internet can be an exciting, helpful, and effective tool, for everyone, but not as long as some folks think they deserve more rights than others.

Multilingualism for jobs mobility, but not only

On November 17, the Council of the European Union issued conclusions on language competences to enhance mobility. In the document the Council not only addresses multilingualism for jobs mobility but also mentions the importance to foster better use of language competences as a mean of increasing the competitiveness of EU business, and especially that of small and medium-sized enterprises. In this context, the Council welcomes the work of the Business Platform for Multilingualism of which EMF is a member of the Steering Committee, and invites the European Commission to further pursue its support and stakeholder initiatives of this kind.

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UK: Report on Skills for Business

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has released a report on « Skills for Business: more to learn? » that sets out recommendations to help resolve the skills shortage in the UK and improve the employability of the British workforce. The BCC’s research looked at the issues around skills, apprenticeships and training to understand the challenges faced by businesses operating in a labour market dramatically altered by the financial crisis.
One of the main findings shows that the majority of businesses find it hard to recruit the right staff. 45.4% of businesses reported it very or quite difficult to find the right staff member for a position and only 27.8% find it very or quite easy.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce comments that « a skilled workforce is fundamental to every successful business in the UK, and developing the capability of our workforce is crucial for economic growth and international competitiveness. Our members recognise the importance of investing in skills and training, even when times are financially hard. Even though the businesses that we surveyed are keen to recruit new staff members and expand, a lack of appropriate skills within the labour pool is limiting business growth. »

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British graduates lack the basic skills needed to join the workforce

The survey « Business education survey 2011 – Freshminds poll of 28 top UK companies for Young Enterprise » carried out by by the Young Enterprise charity in the UK show that three out of four firms (75%) feel the British education system is not equipping young people with the skills they need to enter the workforce.

Researchers found that thousands of young people arrive at interviews without the « vital employability skills » required by employers such as having a suitable grasp of English, being punctual and having a general « can do » attitude.

Young Enterprise charity chairman Ian Smith said that the situation is getting worse because the Department for Education is adopting an alarmingly narrow focus on academic skills and exams.

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“Soft skills” essential for employers but missing among young people

The results of the a survey entitled « Closing the Gap Between Business and Education” show that business leaders find young people to lack ‘soft skills’ such as confidence, teamwork, self-motivation, networking and presentation skills. 63 % of respondents said that their countries’ educational systems were not preparing young people with the right skills to enter the workforce and 70 % of respondents said their countries were doing a poor job developing financial and entrepreneurial skills among young people.

The survey was carried out by FreshMindsResearch for JA-YE Europe, which is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes bringing together businesses, schools and young people.

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