Opinion

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Businesses can help improve the nation’s skill set

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According to recent figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other key economic indicators, the UK economy is set to grow at an unprecedented rate in the next few years; some predicting the UK economy will grow by up three per cent. As UK’s economic recovery continues to gather steam, the employment rate is starting to look much more positive.

In the last few years, a record number of young people were unemployed but with the economy picking up, there is new hope for many jobseekers to finally get on the career ladder. However, many businesses are still finding it difficult employing the right talent with many vacancies taking several months to fill.

The issue, as civic society minister Nick Hurd pointed out last month, is that many young people often lack the necessary skills to flourish in the real world. These include a combination of soft skills as well as those they should have to actually do their job such as their education, training, and experience. Today, most employers desire these soft skills such as social skills, honesty, integrity, a strong work ethic and self-motivation.   

As stated by the BBC, the report from ‘Tomorrow’s Growth‘ predicts that by 2020 nearly half of all employment will be in ‘highly skilled roles’. Bearing this in mind, the nation needs to prepare for this and it is essential that businesses start to invest in their existing staff’s skill development.

In the modern workplace all of these skills complement the core skills; like numeracy, IT and literary skills which enable individuals to extensively evaluate situations and make sound judgments.

The government must learn from other European countries like Germany to implement a better ‘school-to-work’ transition so no young person leaves school without the right set of skills employers require today. This is why I’m in full support of the government’s flagship ‘apprenticeship schemes’. It is preparing young people properly for the world of work through high-quality work experience and careers guidance and, in some cases, a recognised qualification.

This was the thinking behind The Shield Group’s investment in management development with the creation of a new Level 5 Diploma in Total Security Solutions. We recently invested over £1m into the innovative Management Development Centre. These pioneering initiatives have supported The Shield Group to achieve a high staff retention rate where 48% of our workforce have worked with the company for over five years. 

If the government is unable to turn things around, the private sector will need to step in to bridge the gap and it’s just as well the economy is growing to enable them to do so. 

John Roddy is CEO of security company The Shield Group.

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