Local businesses are asked to consider what they can do to invest time and thought into inspiring the local workforce of the future.
Businesses put a sufficient supply of skilled labour near the top of their concerns according to new business survey data published by SEMLEP. For employers with 10 or more staff, it was one of the top constraints on business growth.
Alongside this year’s National Apprenticeship Week from 3 – 7 February, SEMLEP is calling for more small businesses to get involved to inspire and inform young people about local jobs so they can make choices about their training and career options.
As part of this, SEMLEP is calling for small business owners to give an hour of their time to open-up their workplace, talk to school students or provide some practical sessions to inspire the next generation.
“Business leaders are the best people to inspire young people.” said Dr Julie Mills OBE, Chair of SEMLEP’s Skills Advisory Panel and Group Principal of Milton Keynes College
“We have some fantastic employers working with us, with schools and colleges, and directly with young people to better inform students and their parents about what skills they need and what career choices are available to them but, we need more people to come forward.”
“Although we are seeing improvements in the skills situation, some sectors don’t have the pipeline of talent coming through. Businesses can’t just wait for change to happen. They need to be involved to drive the skills agenda for themselves.”
Paul Thompson, Employer and Skills Manager at SEMLEP, added: “The work we are doing to improve the quality of careers advice and information is paying off. A total of 94% of all schools and colleges in the South East Midlands area are working with us, taking direct action to build careers and employer engagement into the school curriculum and, in doing so, making student experiences much more relevant to the local labour market.”
Whilst the business survey revealed that most businesses believed their workforce to be already well-skilled, 25% reported a skills gap. However, only just over a quarter (28%) of businesses had taken action to increase the skills of their workforce. This shows a drop from 32% taking action in 2017. Around 36% of businesses who do not currently have an apprentice said they could consider employing an apprentice and 70% of businesses in the area rate local schools and colleges as high quality.
For more information on how to get involved, visit: www.semlep.com/skills. This website provides information on apprenticeships, funding available for businesses to train their employees, as well as labour market information useful to job seekers, schools and parents to support young people with their job choice. Businesses can also speak to advisers at SEMLEP’s Growth Hub for free, one-to-one support to help them attract and retain skilled people.