Closing the Skills Gap - Brendan Hughes
I recently attended a meeting, and in it we discussed the opportunities for small business with large scale projects coming into the area like Eden. It is pleasing to hear of all the help that is being set up by different organisations to give free courses to help people get their business ready for any opportunities.
One of the underlying issues that come up time and again in many different sectors is recruitment. There are skills shortages in almost every sector with no easy answers forthcoming. An aging population and in some cases, the reluctant to work, due to benefits not making work pay, are teeing up the district for disaster and possibly slowed growth.
According to a recent study, people with few or no qualifications account for almost a third of the working-age population, while as many as four in every ten jobs are low-skilled. A lot of onus has been put on getting people into the university system over the past years. I think one way to tackle the shortages is to get into schools and let people know, it's not just big business and university qualified jobs that exist out in the real world. SME`s account for 60% of the employment in UK private sector business.
Educational institutions like Lancaster and Morecambe College are working tirelessly to educate school leavers that there are other options out there apart from the university pathway. A lot of school leavers in their last year don’t get adequate careers advice due to cuts in funding for the careers service.
Schools can’t do it alone; central government needs to promise to get serious on plugging the skills gap. Free broadband, trains, iPads, and Christmas trees are lovely promises in an election period, and the NHS is important; I’d like to hear more promises to fund the skills gap issues, please.