Three in four employers are experiencing recruitment difficulties, changes to immigration policies following Brexit have presented further barriers, and the evident skills shortage seen across sectors is forcing companies to look at different ways to fill the skills gap. Whilst training and up-skilling existing employees is an obvious and effective solution, it can only go some of the way, and more practical solutions need to be identified and implemented.
We are here to support you
Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce has over 750 members, representing in excess of 60,000 employees across all sectors in the county. Our aim is to enable growth locally, regionally and nationally and workforce development is a key focus for us.
Our latest People Campaign run by the British Chambers of Commerce, which examined the barriers and opportunities for investment in workplace training and development for adults over 25 from all skill levels, revealed that employers understand the importance of developing skills of adults in the workplace, but that greater flexibility is needed in the current skills system.
We are working hard with our members to improve the trust and co-operation between all the different parties involved in skills and training provision, particularly at a local level. We understand the importance of helping smaller firms identify and invest in the skills needs of their workforce and the growing need for more bite-sized flexible learning. This will allow people in work to gain new skills faster with a renewed focus on digital skills and innovation.
Acquire, develop and retain
Access to people is undoubtedly one of the biggest issues facing our business communities today. UK businesses are struggling to find the right people for their teams, regardless of size or sector, with Chamber research showing more than 50% of companies say the time to fill a vacancy is longer than it was five years ago.
Justin Richardson, CEO of Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, comments: “Businesses need to focus on three core elements – talent acquisition, development and retention. Talent acquisition is core to workforce development and will only be achieved through diversity. To nurture and develop talent, we need to strengthen collaborative partnerships between the education system and businesses. All of which will enable businesses to retain their talent to help build effective workforces for today and the future.”
To address these crucial issues and mitigate future risk, the Chamber Network is liaising heavily with Government, businesses, academics and employees to identify ways we can better incentivise and support businesses to invest in the development of its people. By staying ahead of the curve, we can support you effectively to turn these challenges into opportunity.