Firms fear ongoing skills gap

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AN ageing workforce is making the skills shortage even more worrying say North East manufacturers.

That was one of the findings revealed in a survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ employers organisation and JAM Recruitment, which also found 75 per cent of businesses saying finding and recruiting employees was a key concern.

Of those surveyed, seven out of 10 are offering apprenticeships and six out of 10 are expecting to spend more on staff training in the coming few years.

Tim Thomas, EEF’s head of employment and skills policy, said: “Manufacturers are taking the initiative to ensure that skills gaps don’t hold them back from their ambitions to develop new products and services and expand into new markets.

“But, despite the Government’s best efforts, investing in apprenticeships and finding the right qualifications, training courses and provider is still far from straightforward.

“The time is ripe to go further and put employers in the driving seat by giving them the power to set the standards for their industry, the scope to decide how to train their apprentices and by routing public funding for training through the firms that invest in it.”