Policy Spotlight with Rhouda: How can the advancement of youth and adult skills support businesses?

Last week, the British Chambers of Commerce held a steering group with members across the chamber network focusing on issues regarding the development of adult and youth skills. The session highlighted the key areas in which decision makers need to focus on in order to support business productivity as well as to ensure UK economic progression continues.

Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have reported large-scale shortages of skilled workers which has resulted in a decrease in productivity and business confidence. With recent discussions taking place concerning economic progression, it is essential that businesses are supported in all ways possible to ensure that they have the right resources to maintain business operations as usual. Over the course of the pandemic, it has become increasingly more difficult for young people to get the training and preparation they need to be prepared for the world of work.

Ensuring that there is a clear and accessible link between places of education and businesses will support the development of youth skills and offer greater opportunities for work experience and internships. Additionally, investing in skills bootcamps, T-levels and on-the-job traineeships will provide high quality pathways to rewarding careers across a wide range of industries.

Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce said: “Businesses in various sectors have really struggled during the pandemic, especially firms that remained closed due to lockdown restrictions. This has amplified financial difficulties, meaning that they will be less able to fund employee training. It is critical that the government addresses the shortage in technical skills and provides funding in order to support businesses with the resources that they need, to prevent further regression in business development.

“It was promising to hear in the Autumn Budget that the government has set aside £560m for adult numeracy skills training. Conversations around skills are often focused on younger generations, however by investing in the skills of adults across the nation, businesses are more likely to be able to fill vacancies at a faster rate with skilled workers. We hope to see the government put businesses at the centre of local skills planning, ensuring that people are trained for sustainable jobs.”

By having the right skills in literacy and numeracy employees will have the opportunity to progress in their chosen careers. This is crucial for businesses as they will find it a lot easier to retain staff and will spend less time and resources on recruiting new employees.

The Staffordshire Business Pledge for Literacy provides a framework for businesses to tackle the literacy challenges throughout the county by working with the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce as well as the National Literacy Trust. This is a great initiative supporting the drive to raise literacy levels in the local community and engage employees in tackling the literacy challenge. You can sign the Pledge, here.

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce hosts a quarterly Employability, HR and Skills forum giving members the opportunity to steer the Chambers representations on certain matters. To find out more or to join the forum get in touch by emailing rhouda.elalfy@staffordshirechambers.co.uk or call 01782 202222.

The government recently announced plans to strengthen day one employment rights and increase productivity of businesses. This will mean that British workers will have more choice over when and where they work, introducing more flexibility in the workplace. The British Chambers of Commerce are looking for feedback on how this proposal will affect employers. Join the conversation on the Virtual Members Lounge, here. If you have not registered for the Virtual Members’ Lounge, you can create an account, here.

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