Latest skills news

July 18, 2017 9:59 am

Invest Ashfield & Mansfield - The area for growth

At Invest Ashfield and Mansfield, we like to keep you completely up-to-date with skills news potentially impacting on your business.  These days, it’s more important than ever to find and recruit talent in order to keep your business competitive.  However, research recently published shows that recruitment and skills shortages are both issues stifling local growth.  This is particularly the case in the manufacturing sector which suffers from an ageing workforce.  Equally, at the same time, it is failing to attract sufficient new talent.  In the face of these issues, some new initiatives have started to appear. 

Skills shortages in manufacturing

New statistics, from a manufacturing industry survey by RSM, show recruiting and retaining talent is a top risk.  According to the results in RSM’s UK Manufacturing Monitor, almost half of the respondents confirmed people risks (49%) and skills shortages (43%) are a major challenge impacting manufacturers.  All areas of the business are affected, particularly attracting the right production, sales and marketing, and research and development skills.

This issue is further magnified by the sector’s ageing workforce, with the majority (75%) of respondents flagging this as a key concern. The average age of manufacturing staff has increased as many organisations struggle to recruit younger workers – highlighting a long-term challenge.

Despite the critical need to attract younger workers with future-fit skills, nearly two thirds (63%) of manufacturers didn’t think the new Apprenticeship Levy, introduced by the government in April 2017, would have an impact on apprenticeship numbers.

Skills shortages impacting on growth

Furthermore, new research undertaken by the Chamber shows that employers expect to struggle to recruit over the next two years.  Of course, problems finding suitably skilled staff at all levels will have an important impact on growth.  According to the Chamber’s research, levels of regional recruitment have been consistent between September 2015 and June 2017.

But of the firms recruiting, up to two-thirds (66%) reported difficulties, particularly when filling skilled technical and professional vacancies.  The importance of addressing this recruitment challenge is brought sharply into focus when considered against the number of firms with growth intentions over the next two years.  Almost nine out of ten firms (86%) said they were hoping to grow, of which 67% said their plans involved taking on more people.

However, the number of companies saying they planned to invest in training fell between March 2015 and September 2016 before rallying at the start of 2017.  The fall suggested that firms were less keen on ‘growing their own’ as a primary strategy for addressing the skills shortage to facilitate growth.

Of the businesses planning to grow, 63% say investment in training is an essential ingredient and 51% reported having training investment strategies to reduce reliance on external recruitment.  The research asked firms to identify potential barriers to training. Costs and finding the time to release staff from normal duties were cited as the main obstacles.

Innovation Community Lab (ICL)

Designed to support local SMEs, this is a new initiative providing a network for aspiring managers and/or ambitious new starters.  Specially for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire SMEs, ICL is a thirty hour programme of interactive and engaging workshops designed to share knowledge and skills around innovation to develop their confidence, business skills and leadership potential.  The programme will be delivered in both Derby and Nottingham.

Delegates on the ICL programme are given tools and knowledge to support your SME to generate and implement new ideas.  Delegates will become more confident in forming and pitching their ideas, and have the supporting business and analytical skills to properly consider and reflect upon their suggestions.  ICL can encourage them to contribute to product development, to reflect upon and propose a new service or process, or do something else entirely.  All key skills for an entry level candidate to grow and develop their career.

We are flexible and open to all industry sectors and delegates can come from a wide range of job roles.  This means that they will not only benefit from the course itself but also have the opportunity to build their own professional network across a diverse range of businesses who have a varied range of skills and experience.  Delegates should be eager to learn and keen to develop their careers within your organisation.

View further information about the programme.  To take part, please complete the enrolment form (we can only accept one delegate per business).  If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Emmie Studencki on  0115 848 2569.  Read more.

Skills Local

The need for lifelong learning is more evident now than ever before. People no longer have jobs for life.  Many people now change career, in addition to employers, during their working life.  That’s exactly where the new SKILLS local programme comes in.  Delivered by Learndirect and funded through the European Social Fund (ESF), this is a £3.5m programme.

Basically, this money is available to support over 1,000 local businesses.  The project also includes over £500K to support firms with apprenticeships.  As a result, vocational training will be delivered to 3,525 local employees.  Read more.

To find out more about this funded training, why not attend one of the local breakfast sessions explaining more about what’s on offer?  There are two events being held, both of which start at 8:30am.  The first is the Nottinghamshire Business Breakfast on Thursday 20 July at EMFEC in Nottingham.  The second is the Derbyshire Business Breakfast on Friday 21 July at the Derby University Enterprise Centre in Derby.

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