How UK businesses are investing in the shortage of skilled workers
For businesses, the shortage of skilled workers is not a new problem, but the rapid advance of technology has made the scenario more painful than ever. In the UK, recent years saw the skills gap issue placed on the back-burner, though, as the region recovered from economic crisis. Now that things seem to be improving, the nagging reality of the skills shortage has returned, and firms are beginning to focus (and panic) once again in the face of the unarguable lack of skilled talent available to fill the jobs that our modern world demands.
With the introduction of the new ‘Apprenticeship Levy’ in the UK Budget, the government has taken a step in the right direction, and highlighted the importance of investing in fresh talent. However, how the government intends to implement this new initiative is causing trepidation and discontent within the industry. The fact remains that not only will it take time for the new tax to be instigated, the program appears to adopt a largely generic ‘one size fits all’ approach.
A huge oversight from the government on their part is that they seem to have forgotten there is no blueprint for training. Learning & development (L&D) needs to be tailored to suit the individual needs of the workforce and not simply just a way to herd sheep.
An underlying problem with the new levy is that it will not provide employees with the correct, bespoke training required to create high skilled works.
Booming industries such as technology and engineering require a specific skill-set, and whilst employees with a certain set of skills will produced, the danger here is that these will not be right skills. The CBI has argued the new scheme is unlikely to deliver the high-quality level of workers that the economy is currently crying out for. The devil here will be in the detail – the government needs to keep in mind that training in greater numbers does not necessarily guarantee quality and success.
In order to be truly effective, L&D initiatives need to be aligned to specific business goals and ambitions. Otherwise, you’re just training people for the sake of training without any real aspirations and nobody wins. The importance of the government finally sitting up and taking action against a skills starved economy should not be an understatement. But then again, covering bullet holes with band aids won’t necessarily stop the bleeding.