John Jackson says the CII is good at training and setting standards, but it should sell itself bettertalent programme is to be launched at the CII conference in Glasgow next month, when the institute will be looking to the insurance industry as a whole to give it firm backing. The project deserves a fair wind.

Last month,CII communications director Steve Wellard said it was wrong to rely on "accidental" recruitment and that serious action was necessary (Comment, 24 August). It was a timely warning, but it says something about the industry that he even had to pose the question.

It is right that the issue should be tackled head on, and that the initiative should come from the CII as the industry's professional body.

But one has to pose this question: if the problem of recruiting talent is still so serious, what has been going on throughout the industry all these years?

The industry has the FSA regulatory jackboot on its neck, and students turning to the training page on the CII website will see at least one area of less than an exciting prospect that could open up for them as insurance professionals.

For on that site is advertised the opportunity to sit the Certificate of Competence in Regulatory Supervision. I kid you not.

Don't make me laugh - what kind of talented youngsters want to waste their years getting a piece of paper to prove their qualification in that bilge?

The broker qualification was one of the biggest achievements of the CII, and it is to be congratulated on such initiatives as its face-to-face training scheme.

Lloyd's was also sensible in giving the institute responsibility for its market introductory test.

So the CII is more than doing its bit. It is there to set professional standards, but insurance is an industry that has long lacked the ability to sell itself in an exciting and positive way.

One has also to ask why there is such emphasis on graduates. The newspapers are regularly recounting horror stories from the CBI and individual employers about the abysmal numeracy and literacy skills of these so-called academically-qualified individuals.

If talent is to be hunted, then spread the net much wider - many of the self-made stars of the insurance industry would be the first to admit they were not academically gifted. And insurance is a market for the entrepreneur - the innovator. That's how Lloyd's made its name.

Insurance covers a vast field and can cater for all types of talent. Perhaps in the hunt for that talent, the CII conference should start by putting a couple of questions to potential recruits: do you want a job or a career? Do you see yourself in a trade or a profession?

Then tell them: insurance is for career-minded professionals. IT