The skills shortage affecting the UK’s manufacturing sector is well-documented, the result of a combination of factors, including the changing face of the British workforce, the political upheaval of recent years, and the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although many fields of industry are affected, manufacturing is suffering the most, with an estimated 85 per cent of businesses in the sector experience problems because of a shortage of skilled workers.
For manufacturers, the consequences of a major skills shortage could be severe if decisive action to counter the problem is not taken immediately. Reduced productivity and higher operational costs can impact output and turnover which, combined with an unstable economic landscape, could spell disaster for some businesses.
What role does in-house professional development have to play and what difference could it make for your business?
Why Upskilling Your Team Matters
In the face of a persistent skills shortage, your existing team really is your best resource! If you upskill your employees to ensure they are trained in manufacturing best practices, you can overcome many of the obstacles facing other engineering businesses. It is also important to promote the job opportunities available in your company to attract young people, encouraging them to cultivate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills, which will be a fundamental element of building the skilled workforce of the future.
Upskilling your team means you can draw upon the experienced staff members that you already have, to reap the benefits of an up to date, skilled workforce:
- Futureproof Your Business by ensuring your employees have a variety of skills and knowledge to shape your organisation in preparation for future changes.
- Motivate Your Team by investing in their professional development to learn new skills, increasing their self-worth and loyalty to your company.
- Save Money by increasing the scope of your existing team instead of recruiting new staff.
- Increase Productivity by giving your team the skills they need to undertake new projects efficiently.
- Cement Your Reputation as a business that invests in its staff’s professional development, so that your company becomes known for its commitment to its people, thereby attracting new talent when vacancies arise.
Why Financial Support Should Target Upskilling
Although the Government awards grants to enable manufacturers to recruit new staff, many businesses in the sector would prefer to use the money to upskill their team.
It’s an issue Hone-All’s director, Andrea Wilson, recently raised during a key interview on GB News, in which she highlighted the urgent need for manufacturing small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be supported to train the unskilled, as well as upskill their teams, as a way to narrow the skills gap.
She believes the Government could save millions on capital equipment placed into colleges, who struggle to remain current with technology and find it impossible to recruit skilled lecturers to teach.
By re-allocating some of this funding into a Training and Development Tax credit system (similar to the R&D system), we could reduce budgets, address the skills gap, and give thousands of unskilled people the chance to join a vibrant, exciting, and thriving sector.
So, if you want to futureproof your manufacturing business, increase its competitiveness and resilience, and open new production avenues, invest in upskilling, as addressing the ever-increasing skills gap will be vital for your business, the manufacturing industry, and the UK’s economy. For more information about our services, please contact us today!