80% of employees in manufacturing want to upskill this year

Posted on 26 Jan 2022 by The Manufacturer

Businesses across the manufacturing sector are being urged to ‘Join the skills revolution’ as tens of millions of employees around England express desire to skill up in their jobs this year.

New research has revealed that a huge 80% of workers in the manufacturing and utilities industries are interested in learning new work skills in 2022, over-indexing against the nation’s average of 70%.

The new Censuswide survey of over 4,000 of the UK’s workforce showed a clear national appetite for skills development and indicated that employees are hungry to learn more and progress further in their careers this year compared to 2021 – with 69% wanting increased job satisfaction in 2022 and 67% feeling that gaining new skills will be key to achieving their work goals.

Over a quarter (28%) of workers said that progression and opportunities to learn were paramount goals in their working life.

This research coincides with the launch of the government campaign which urges employers to ‘join the skills revolution’, aiming to help businesses across a wide range of industries gear up for economic recovery by skilling up their workforce. The campaign highlights the range of training and employment schemes available for businesses wanting to boost their workforce capabilities, including apprenticeships, traineeships and T levels.

Skilling Up in Manufacturing

Sector specific findings from the survey have indicated that a huge 80% and 77% of respondents working in manufacturing and utilities industries, and engineering respectively, are also interested in learning new skills relating to their work in 2022.

The top areas workers say they are most keen to explore include IT and digital (20%), finance (16%) and business (16%), with 1 in 9 (11%) expressing an interest in learning more around green industries this year. Businesses are being encouraged to grasp this development opportunity to boost their business growth.

Prominent industry voices have spoken out on the importance of skills to drive better results and retain their workforce.

Skills image from Shutterstock

David Flochel, Managing Director of HEINEKEN UK, said: “Recent demands on those in the food and drink sector have been immense – having robust skills programmes in place has enabled our colleagues to adapt and thrive over the last two years, despite all the challenges of the pandemic. Skills opportunities can make a real difference for everyone, regardless of the stage of their career. We help our colleagues perform in their own roles, or get ready for their next challenge through a blend of internally and externally recognised initiatives.

“The Skills for Life campaign provides a route for anyone to develop skills which can improve their life, through enhancing their career options. The sense of empowerment and possibility that this kind of campaign can deliver should not be underestimated. A focus on skills which are transferrable across roles, employers and industries are a top priority for the development of everyone in HEINEKEN.“

Tim Slatter, Chair of Ford Motor Company Ltd. Said: “Ford Motor Co in the UK has a proud and established history of developing apprentices. Our Advanced (L4) and Higher (L6) apprenticeships continue to prove invaluable to develop workplace-ready talent in emerging technology disciplines. In addition to recruiting new apprentices, Ford are leaning into senior (L6-7) apprenticeships supporting a major program of new-technology up-skilling of existing employees, as the automotive industry moves further into electrified, and connected technologies.”

Liberty Steel’s apprenticeship programme has impacted on their staff retention rates, which have been extremely high over the last 10 years, allowing the business to retain the key skills the it needs – investing in technical education is important, as they are able to retain the bespoke skills that are required within the steel industry.

Tony Goddard, training and development manager at Liberty Steel said: “Our apprentices are on a fixed three-year contract and to earn a substantive position with a permanent contract they need to not only complete their apprenticeship but also to demonstrate to the business that that have earned the contract. We rotate our apprentices throughout the business on a quarterly schedule and every attachment is an opportunity for the apprentices to shine.

The ‘Join the Skills Revolution’ campaign will showcase hundreds of government-funded skills opportunities available and help businesses to up skill their employees, find new talent and be a part of training the future workforce.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Secretary of State for Education said: “It is no secret that a skilled and motivated workforce is the key to driving better performance and boosting productivity. There has never been a better time to make skills a top priority. To support businesses to unlock untapped talent there is a huge range of training available to help upskill their staff for free including online courses to boost numeracy to apprenticeships, traineeships, T Levels or our Skills Bootcamps.”

A Demand for Learning

The research found a considerable demand for on-the-job training, with 39% of workers saying they would find this particularly useful. A further 31% of workers wanted courses specific to their sector, as well as encouragement and practical support from their employer – with 1 in 3 saying they felt held back by a lack of time (36%), a lack of confidence (31%) or knowing where to start (30%).

The opportunities on offer as part of the Join the Skills Revolution campaign, have been designed by and in partnership with employers, listening to businesses to meet their recruitment needs and address skills gaps, through flexible, free or subsidised courses. Skills Bootcamps for example, provide fast-track sector specific training in areas such as construction, HGV driving, green skills, digital, manufacturing and engineering, as well as creating a pool of skilled staff ready to recruit with the right training.

Businesses are urged to join the skills revolution and drive better performance, by clicking here – for skills opportunities designed by employers, for employers.

Meanwhile adult learners can discover hundreds of opportunities to learn new skills here - from free careers advice and courses to advanced qualifications and on-the-job training.