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Lack of skilled workers could be damaging economy

Posted on May 15th, 2018

Gaps between the skills of the available worker pool and the needs of business could be damaging the region’s productivity.

Recent research showed that nearly a third of firms (30%) were struggling to recruit staff with the skills they needed.

Over half (57%) had difficulty finding suitable candidates for professional and managerial roles.

More than four-in-ten (42%) struggled to fill skilled manual and technical vacancies. Nearly a quarter (24%) couldn’t fill skilled or unskilled positions and 16% couldn’t find suitable clerical staff.

The figures were revealed in the Chamber’s first Quarterly Economic Survey for 2018.

“Regional economic prosperity relies in no small part on firms being able to recruit sufficiently skilled staff. But in some sectors there are huge gaps between the expertise available and the needs of business,” said Ian Bates, the Chamber’s Sector Forums Manager.

He added: “It essential that we find a way to bridge this gap and that business works with academia to develop the skills needed to underpin the Industrial Strategy across the region.

“A shortage of suitable staff has the additional impact of creating a competitive marketplace, where employers need to ensure they can provide an environment and competitive salary to retain staff. In addition, we need to address how we can improve productivity levels across the region, perhaps by upskilling existing workers to meet the demands of the future workplace.”

Finding ways to bridge the skills gap will be a key element of a major employability and skills summit being staged by the Chamber and partners next month.

The Summit will explore how regional prosperity rests on having sufficient skilled staff and, as identified through the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Surveys, why there is a continued shortfall of available skilled labour in this region.

It will also explore how the region can address this challenge to ensure there is a bright future for the local economy and the region’s young people.

Education providers, businesses and policy makers will unite at the summit to discuss practical ways or working together to deliver the skills required for economic growth across the region.

Keynote speakers will include Jonathan Mitchell - Deputy Director, Standards Development, Institute for Apprenticeships, Sue Lovelock - Deputy Director, Technical Education, Implementation Division, Department for Education, Mike Grogan - Head of East and East Midlands Region, Vodafone, Angela Joyce - Chair of the Midlands Engine Skills Programme and Clare Hutchinson - Area Manager North, Careers and Enterprise Company.

The summit will include a series of workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions and guest speakers, and will have an emphasis on creating action plans to find a solution to the problem.

Workshops will include
•Access Generation - becoming the employer of choice for future generations
•Inspiring Governance - benefits to your organisation of being involved in school governance and the support available
•Institute of Engineering and Technology - why it’s hard to talk about skills
•Leicester Employment Hub - support for recruitment and training and supporting the disadvantaged into employment
•Recart - why contingency recruitment is dying
•LLEP - employer engagement in schools and colleges

The summit is sponsored by the Institute of Apprenticeships, the Department for Education, the Careers and Enterprise Company, Vodafone and Chamber Strategic Partner Loughborough University.

Other sponsorship opportunities still exist, as does the possibility of exhibiting at the summit. For more information about both, visit https://bit.ly/2Ii141e.

The Employability and Skills Summit 2018 takes place at Loughborough University’s West Park Teaching Hub, from 8.30am to 1pm on 20 June. For more information visit https://bit.ly/2Kqv6wm.