Forging future skills

Posted on 4 Aug 2010 by The Manufacturer

Semta establishes Regional Council for Yorkshire and the Humber headed by Sheffield Forgemasters' CEO

Semta, the employer-led Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, has created a new Regional Council for Yorkshire and the Humber to better support appropriate skills development for employers in the region.

Dr Graham Honeyman CBE, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, has been appointed as chair of the new council.

Sheffield Forgemasters, who were recently disappointed by the withdrawal of government funding to help develop the company and the regeneration of industry in the north east, has a long association with Semta which represents 118,900 employees at 6780 sites in Yorkshire and the Humber.

This important area for the future of manufacturing in the UK suffers from a significant skills gap with 21% of companies in the region claiming they do not have the appropriate competencies to compete in an advanced manufacturing economy.

So far Semta has developed training development plans with 140 Yorkshire and Hiumber companies to combat this skills gap including employee qualifications in business improvement, manufacturing operations and health and safety ranging from level 1 to 5 for senior management and leadership.

It is hoped however that the new council will help raise awareness of the challenge being faced and bring cohesion to intelligent skills development by communicating employer needs with force at local and national government levels.

Lynn Tomkins, UK Operations Director of Semta, said: “Semta is dedicated to simplifying the skills landscape and, to meet the needs of employers, it is vital that they are able to communicate their specific needs in each region.

The newly established Regional Councils will better enable us to ensure that Semta and our National Skills Academy for Manufacturing are offering the right sort of training and funding support, helping mitigate the current mismatch between supply and demand.

“To support each Regional Council, Semta has introduced a new Skills Connector service, which allows us to support employers, either face to face or online, and assess their individual training needs.”

Semta’s 2010 UK Skills Report identifies the need for almost 10,000 new highly-skilled scientists and engineers a year between now and 2016. Businesses working with Semta’s National Skills Academy for Manufacturing have seen, on average, a 6:1 ratio of return on their skills investment, helping many of them survive the downturn.

Lynn Tomkins adds: “By working in partnership with employers and other skills agencies we intend to make the entire process of accessing the right training and funding much more straightforward. We want to ensure it is exactly the training the organisation needs and that it will provide real benefits to the bottom-line.”