The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and plans have been made. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll be toasting in the New Year. People say things tend to quieten down for businesses around this time of year, but this certainly hasn't been the case in the skills and employment arena. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It is natural for businesses to take stock of not only each financial year, but at the end of each calendar year too. As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 pushes its way to the fore, I have no doubt that industry leaders across the country will be taking time out to consider the ebb and flow of their order book in some form or another this Christmas.
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement sparked a grand level of debate and, as ever, divided opinion. Stamp Duty has grabbed most headlines, with the reforms in the levy being charged at different levels of house price attracting a lion's share of the discussion.
If we are to grow and prosper as a country - we must invest in our youth. With university graduates racking up an average of more than £30,000 worth of debt, apprenticeships provide a great alternative of structured and hands on learning, not to mention that the financial incentive that students can earn whilst they learn.
Excitement really has started to kick on apprenticeships lately and it's starting to look encouraging - we might even get it onto the election agenda as a policy!
Increasingly direct links between our education system and industry operators are helping business leaders get the support they need to sustain a robust and competitive economy, at what is a crucial time for many UK businesses.
Did anyone spot the commitment in both the main parties' conference speeches to create a new workforce of thousands of young people - millions even - paid just £2.73 an hour? Actually the initiative wasn't just spotted but welcomed, alongside promises on zero hours contracts and the National Minimum Wage.
I had the pleasure of hearing David Cameron's speech in Birmingham yesterday after spending the last few days at the Tory conference campaigning for apprenticeships. To my mind, he won the election right then and there.
"It was business wot won it!" That was David Cameron's message last night at the Business Leaders' Reception at Number 10, although they may not have been the exact words used by the Prime Minister. He did however make it clear that when he moved into Downing Street four years ago, the entire place, and I mean the country, not the residence, were in pretty bad shape. And there was no money to fix it.
Schools often place such an emphasis on getting their students moved on to university that they neglect the members of each year group who either don't want to go to university or don't have the grades to do so.
With GCSE and A-Level results fresh in the hands of thousands of young people in the UK this week, it's important for students and their parents to be aware of the wide spectrum of available options. University will rightly continue to be a place for generations to continue their education, but it's naive to think of it as a 'one stop shop' for getting onto the career ladder.
I am earning money already and learning how to manage my finances. Whereas if I had gone to University, I would have around £66k debt to pay! To make matters worse, Computer Science graduates are earning less every year, they are earning on average £2,261 less today than in 2007. Instead, I will have earned over £66k creating a difference of over £132k!
Last week we saw the overall pass rate for A levels fall for the first time in 32 years, students who achieved lower grades are being told they have an opportunity to go to university after 30,000 new places were created.
The nation's bosses are increasingly looking at the personal qualities candidates can bring to the table, both immediately and in the long term. But just whose responsibility is it to ensure young people don't just place more emphasis on these skills in job applications, but on achieving them in the first place?
You might be forgiven for thinking that our economy has fully recovered, especially with unemployment back to pre-recession levels, and the UK showing the strongest growth in Europe, surpassing all predictions. The view from many is that we're through the worst. But, the reality is different for many people, especially those who either have just left or are leaving school to compete for the limited number of jobs available.
I attended the Inclusive Prosperity Conference at the Science Museum this week which was chaired by Ed Balls MP and the keynote speaker was Ed Miliband... Mr. Miliband warned that he won't always agree with us but my advice to him is to listen and think until his head hurts.