Wednesday 22 Aug 2018

Ensuring businesses have the right skilled workforce

Our voice of business this month is:
Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership


Today’s young people and adults face tough competition for jobs, yet many employers report difficulties in recruiting people with the right skills. The working world has changed fundamentally over the past generation, creating an employment challenge caused by the demise of the job for life, the emergence of the knowledge economy and the loss of many unskilled and semi-skilled jobs due to technological and globalisation changes.

To compete successfully in a rapidly changing global economy, employers need a workforce equipped with a broad range of skills, knowledge and attributes. One which has the ability to think critically and is enterprising, innovative, adaptable, and self-motivated.

On the 4th December 2017, the Government launched its long-awaited Careers Strategy which is part of the Government’s plan to make Britain fairer, improve social mobility and offer opportunity to everyone. It is aligned to the Government’s Industrial Strategy which focusses on building a Britain fit for the future by investing in the development of skills to meet the changing needs of business, increase productivity and drive growth across the country. The careers strategy aims to support everyone, whatever their age to go as far as their talents will take them and have a rewarding career, and sets out a plan to achieve just that working closely with various stakeholders. Employers have an important part to play in supporting individuals to grow and develop.

BTVLEP’s Buckinghamshire Skills Hub aims to drive skills development at all ages to support the development of a dynamic future workforce that meets the needs of industry, particularly key growth sectors, in order to drive productivity and prosperity both in Buckinghamshire and beyond.

This focus starts with careers inspiration and skills development activities in secondary schools and colleges in Buckinghamshire, in order to improve the work preparedness of our young people by raising awareness of where the opportunities lie through connecting businesses to educators and young people. Through its Enterprise Adviser Network, and OppsinBucks.org and WANNABEbucks.org platforms, it works across the majority of the secondary schools in the county and supported or facilitated almost 70,000 student-employer encounters in 2017-18. Encounters encompass careers talks, skills development workshops, industry-led challenges and competitions, careers events, work place visits, and work placements.

The third Bucks Skills Show, taking place on the 12th and 13th October 2018 in Aylesbury, promises to be even bigger and better than previous years with a broad range of employers and inspiring industry speakers from our local and national key growth sectors which include creative industries, high performance engineering, life sciences, health and social care, construction and the increasingly important space industries. STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills often underpin these sectors and it is recognised nationally that “We have particular skills shortages in sectors that depend on STEM subjects, where we need more of these graduates to compete successfully in a global economy”, according to HM Government (2017) Building Our Industrial Strategy Green Paper. STEM jobs are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations, creating 142,000 jobs between now and 2023. In particular, it is important to encourage more women to go into STEM occupations to not only address the skills shortages but to also work towards an equal, diverse and competitive workforce. In response to this, the Buckinghamshire Skills Hub work with STEM Now initiative to partner dynamic Enterprise Advisers with STEM Ambassadors from business to ensure schools’ employer engagement and career inspiration activities include a STEM focus.

If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact Jackie Campbell, jackie@btvlep.co.uk.

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