Training is key to closing the skills gap

One of Britain’s Top 100 figures in manufacturing has responded to an article recently published by The Manufacturer detailing how a failure to train our workers is exacerbating the UK skills shortage

Last week, The Manufacturer published the findings of new research that found that one in three people working in the manufacturing industry did not learn any new workplace skills last year.

Businessman making presentation with his colleagues and business - digital training - meeting - manufacturing jobs - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Less than half of those surveyed by skills body City & Guild receive enough help and support to upskill from their employer – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Furthermore, less than half (46%) of those surveyed by skills body City & Guild currently receive enough help and support to upskill from their employer.

Christopher Greenough is commercial director at Salop Design & Engineering and is a vocal champion of addressing the country’s widening skills gap.

Christopher’s ongoing involvement with training providers, schools and colleges, combined with his extensive outreach activities via social media, saw him named as an ‘Exemplar of Industry’ in The Manufacturer’s Top 100 2016 report.

Christopher’s response to: Failure to train workers is exacerbating the UK skills shortage

It is, and has always been, my opinion that training is key to closing the skills gap. But this training, coaching and teaching must go hand-in-hand with a change in society’s perception of the manufacturing sector.

In these uncertain times, we need to promote positivity and shift our focus to skills that will be needed further down the line.

Investing in training is as much a key to a business as investing in new pieces of equipment, and this investment must carry on even if times are tough.

With our current skills gap, and new technologies advancing at an ever-increasing rate, standing still on training effectively means taking a backwards step in knowledge.

Employers are facing rising demands on their resources, and the lack of support for business needs to be addressed more broadly. What with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the change in educational standards, and the lack of business-led training, is it any wonder that the skills gap is growing?

The Apprentice Levy pot has money unspent. Only 19% of manufacturers spent their Apprenticeship Levy in the last financial year, according to Make UK, and 18% are yet to crunch the numbers.

The remaining companies are spending between 25% and 50% of their funds. This money must be freed up to invest where needed and allow business to access the training they need to grow their businesses.

Closing the skills gap will help to grow the economy, and now is the time for UK manufacturing to take the lead.

Apprentices Comment - Christopher Greenough, commercial director, Salop Design & Engineering.

Christopher Greenough is commercial director at Salop Design & Engineering, and a member of The Manufacturer’s Editorial Advisory Board.

He has won numerous awards for outstanding leadership, particularly related to his work around encouraging the next generation to consider careers in manufacturing.