Failure to train workers is exacerbating the UK skills shortage

Workers in the UK’s manufacturing sector are missing out on crucial opportunities to upskill for the future, according to new research from skills body City & Guilds Group.

Businessman making presentation with his colleagues and business - digital training - meeting - manufacturing jobs - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The vast majority of people working in manufacturing believe it is important to continuously update their workplace skills – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The research found that one in three people working in the manufacturing industry did not learn any new workplace skills last year, and less than half (46%) of those surveyed get enough help and support to upskill from their employer.

The vast majority of people working in manufacturing (80%) believe it is important to continuously update their workplace skills regardless of age or career stage – and with good reason, as 48% anticipate that the skills they need to do their jobs will change significantly over the coming five years.

Key findings:

  • One in three people working in manufacturing didn’t learn any new workplace skills last year
  • Less than half (46%) of those surveyed get enough help and support to upskill from their employer
  • 80% of people working in manufacturing believe it’s important to continuously update their workplace skills regardless of age or career stage
  • 48% anticipate that the skills they need to do their jobs will change significantly over the next five years.

Looking at the barriers preventing workers in manufacturing from learning new skills, time is the biggest constraint, with nearly half (49%) saying they are unable to take time away from their day jobs for training.

A further 37% cited a lack of investment in training and development by their employers, and 25% said they do not get enough feedback from managers to help with progression.

This training lag presents an urgent concern for UK manufacturing post-Brexit especially as 23% of people involved in the sector believe that leaving the European Union will have a negative effect on the availability of staff at their business.

Manufacturing is critical for the UK’s growth and prosperity, but technological advances “render skills obsolete quicker than ever before”, commented Martin Hottass, group director at City & Guilds Group.

He added: “Learning shouldn’t stop once an individual leaves school or college and enters the workforce. Ongoing training throughout the lifetime of a career is particularly important for an industry like manufacturing – which relies on its workers operating with the highest levels of technical skills. It is vital that businesses are offering opportunities for employees to continually learn, develop and upskill.”