Is internal training via apprenticeships the way to tackle the skills shortage?

There are many different factors that have caused the skills shortage that has intensified over the recent months. Part of the problem is the uncertainty that faces us all after the Brexit outcome. For example, many companies who rely on EU workers are being faced with them leaving the country due to uncertainty surrounding whether they can stay and work.

Almost all firms in a survey of 400 by the Open University said it had been difficult to find workers with the skills they needed. It found people already in work were reluctant to move employer, while some EU nationals did not want to take a UK job because of the lack of clarity over future immigration rules.

The shortage, therefore, means employers have to pay more money to find ways to reach the people they need – however, there has been a shift in how people recruit staff. It is now mostly all online as that’s where companies are going to get more exposure for their vacancies.

What could happen if EU migrants leave?

The ONS says around 117,000 EU citizens left the UK in 2016, an increase of 31,000 on 2015 and the highest recorded estimate since 2009. Notably, the number of people moving to the UK to study at its universities also fell by 32,000 to 136,000. The Government has repeatedly refused to confirm whether EU citizens will have a right to stay in the UK after Brexit negotiations despite calls to do so.

For businesses around the country that employ EU migrants, it leaves a level of uncertainty surrounding some of their employees. The fact that more of these migrants are leaving means that businesses will have to re-employ and re-train new people which costs a large amount of money. They also have to try and attract these people and the only way to do that is to increase the wage being offered.

Recruitment Delays – Is there a solution?

At the moment, employing new staff is taking companies longer than ever before. This is something that GetMyFirstJob are trying to tackle in the apprenticeship market. As a company, we are invested in getting young people into work as fast as possible.

We worked with Truro and Penwith College to help them with their recruitment needs and they found that by using The TalentPortal system, it allowed them to advertise a vacancy within the same day of receiving it which significantly reduced their fill time from 8-10 weeks to now 4-5 weeks, that’s a 50% decrease! For their clients, this is a much-improved service and for the college, it offers many benefits both operationally and financially. To see more about the talent portal, visit our website here.

‘Invest in development’

Firms are being urged by The Open University to train staff internally through apprenticeships in order to help resolve the issue. The aim of creating 3 million new apprenticeships now means that employers now have access to vouchers to be drawn from the 0.5% Apprenticeship Levy which is taken from larger company payrolls, but only those who have an annual wage bill of £3 million or more.

A survey of firms was undertaken which suggested that 59% (almost double the number of businesses that currently offer apprenticeships) will be offering them now due to the new funding. The director of external engagement for The Open University, Steve Hill, said firms needed to look at recruitment and retention “differently”. “Now faced with a shrinking talent pool, exacerbated by the uncertainties of Brexit, it is more important that employers invest in developing their workforce,” he added.

If you want to get involved with the conversation of apprenticeships and recruitment costs, tweet us @TalentPortalUK, we’re experts in apprenticeship recruitment!

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The original article by the BBC can be viewed here:


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