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Let the Industrial Heart of the UK Create its Own Skills Development Capability says Black Country Chamber of Commerce President

The latest Workforce Survey results, published by the British Chambers of Commerce, highlight that 92% of businesses have identified a skills shortage among their workforce in at least one key area and that most common skills shortages are leadership and management, planning and organisation, languages, computer literacy and creativity. The survey also shows that 80% of businesses surveyed have plans to invest in training and 39% plan to invest more than £500 per staff member. The majority of businesses strongly agree (78%) that training is worthy of investment as a driver for growth and improving productivity performance. Only 35% of companies surveyed use FE Colleges to source and deliver training.

Responding to the survey results, Black Country Chamber of Commerce President, Ninder Johal said: "Businesses recognise that investing in training can drive higher productivity and increased profits. However, the findings make it clear that investment in leadership and management skills are crucial to enhance strategic thinking, foster innovation and motivate a firm's employees. This is an area where the Black Country Chamber of Commerce is at the forefront. We have created a programme with the Black Country Growth Hub that is designed to meet the needs of our smaller, niche manufacturers and feedback so far is very positive.

"The Chamber has responded to need expressed by a majority of Black Country businesses. It is disappointing that innovative programmes such as the UKCES Futures Programme and Employer Ownership Pilots are designed for larger companies leaving most of our Black Country businesses out in the cold. This is why we look forward to a day when the Industrial Heart of the UK is able to create its own skills development capability and when organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce can work with agencies such as the Black Country Skills Factory to commission providers, such as FE Colleges, to deliver a skills agenda that meets local needs. Our businesses would love to have their own Trailblazer programme that produces well rounded apprentices rather than role specific training that only really works when companies are able to employ hundreds of apprentices.

"It is good to see that most businesses are taking a proactive approach by investing in their existing workforce. Four in ten companies tell us they are planning to invest £500 or more per member of staff to address skills shortages. This is good news and points the way to how training could be procured. Unfortunately previous programmes that offered free training have damaged businesses because it actually resulted in lower standards of competence and took a tick box approach to improving productivity and employee engagement.

"Whatever the barriers to training are, we need our businesses to clearly articulate their needs and understand the potential return on investment. Those businesses that invest in training and know how to create a high performance culture continue to outperform those who do not."

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 16:14

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