Skills and the next generation are never far from the surface when talking to manufacturers. And it doesn’t matter which sector or supply chain we are talking about - they all have the same problem, usually summed up as a loss of core technical skills due to an ageing workforce with not enough provision in place to replenish with a younger element. What we don’t want to end up with is a beggar my neighbour policy, where companies rob other companies by luring their people away with better job offers, higher wages etc.
This competitive spiral isn’t the answer, of course. So its good to see that infrastructure is now being put into place to encourage young people to take up the vocational training. For example, in June the UK government’s Skills Minister, John Hayes MP, launched a new business-backed association and benefit card designed specifically for apprentices. The new Apprentice Society and Apprentice Card is backed by the National Union of Students (NUS), Robert Halfon MP and leading providers of apprenticeships and is part of a major campaign to: raise awareness of modern apprenticeships. It follows the commitment by the Government to spend half a billion pounds to boost the number of apprenticeships in the UK. Also raising awareness is the World Skills Competition being hosted in London this October.
Brendan Coyne - Editor