In January this year, the British Chambers of Commerce said the UK was reaching ‘critical levels’ as companies struggled to recruit the right staff into key positions.
It is also widely acknowledged that businesses need to do more if they are to recruit and retain the right employees to stay competitive and increase growth.
The Institute of Engineering and Technology undertook a Skills & Demand in Industry survey last year, in which its findings illustrated the depth and breadth of the problem.
Referencing the Skills Challenge, it noted that 46% of businesses reported difficulties in the skills supply in the external labour market and that 25% reported gaps or limitations in their existing workforce. Furthermore, 61% saw that being unable to recruit the right skilled people would be a barrier to achieving business objectives in the next three years.
In terms of trying to combat this shortage, the survey also revealed that almost two-thirds of employers (59%) had arranged or funded technical training in the past 12 months. A majority of businesses (81%) also thought they should accept responsibility for the transition from education to employment to get people with the right skills, and 75% of employers believe that tackling the skills problem was fundamental to making the Government’s Industrial Strategy viable.
For those companies at the cutting edge of technology, the task is even harder. An inability to recruit or train employees that can push development will have a serious impact on the ability of the business to grow and be competitive.
Strides are being made by government, institutions and the private sector to tackle the problem with significant investment in training programmes and apprenticeship schemes.
These will go a significant way to trying to make inroads into the shortages, which is not restricted to the UK but is also an issue for other highly-developed industrial nations.
Aside from investment into programmes, infrastructure also plays a part. Having the right locations and facilities also aid those looking to reduce the gap. State-of-the-art facilities ensure a stable and productive environment to retain skilled staff and entice new workers. Businesses based on the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus are in a fortunate position that the campus goes someway to offer that with its range of well-provisioned buildings.
Complementing this, Sci-Tech Daresbury has secured funding to provide an on-site Skills Broker, who is working with companies to assist them in overcoming any skills shortages that impact on the business developing.
The skills broker can offer help, advise and formulate a plan for:
- training and development requirements and options for their staff
- how to take advantage of degree-level and higher-level apprenticeships
- tapping into available government funding for training and development.
The services of the Skills Broker has been supported by the Skills for Growth programme through the Liverpool City Region LEP.