Employers are failing to help staff develop new skills, says study

Chris Jones, City & Guilds Group Chief Executive,
Chris Jones, City & Guilds Group Chief Executive,
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LARGE numbers of Yorkshire-based employers are failing to develop their workforces, which is contributing to the UK’s growing skills gap, according to new research

The City & Guilds Group has claimed that workers across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire are being denied opportunities to gain new skills.

The research – launched as part of celebrations to mark the City & Guilds Group’s 140th anniversary year – concludes that 31 per cent of workers across Yorkshire and the Humber did not learn any new workplace skills in 2018.

A spokesman for City & Guilds group said: “While 80 per cent of the Yorkshire workforce agree it is important to continuously update their workplace skills regardless of age or career stage, only 50 per cent of those surveyed said they get enough help and support from their employer to do so.”

Looking at the barriers preventing workers across the county from learning new skills, 43 per cent of respondents said they are unable to take the time away from their day jobs to undertake training, while a further 35 per cent cited a lack of investment in training and development by their employer.

Chris Jones, City & Guilds Group chief executive, commented: “We are seeing a huge disparity between the appetite from workers to learn new skills, and the investment and flexibility of businesses to allow for this to happen.

“Across Yorkshire, the skills gap is a stark reality. Over half (51 per cent) of the business leaders we spoke to are struggling to recruit the skilled people they need, and a further 30 per cent say there is a skills shortage in their industry.

“This further emphasises how important it is for employers to ensure they are prioritising the training and development of all staff, from graduate entrants through to senior leadership.”

Looking to the future, 54 per cent of the workers surveyed across Yorkshire believe that the skills they need to do their jobs will change significantly over the next five years.

The spokesman added: “This, along with the socio-economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, presents immediate concern for workers over their skillset.

“Nearly a third (32 per cent ) of workers in the Yorkshire and Humber region think that Brexit will both have an impact on their career progression and a negative effect on the availability of staff at their business.”

Mr Jones added: “We live in a time of rapid technological advancement, and this, combined with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, has left many workers feeling concerned about career safety.

“Our data clearly shows that people aren’t receiving enough support from their employers to develop the skills they need, either today or in five years’ time.

Mr Jones continued: “Futureproofing talent needs to be a primary concern for businesses, and they should be working closely with their employees to ensure this is happening.”

The total sample size for the survey conducted by YouGov was 2,303 workers.

The Yorkshire and the Humber sample size was 203 workers and the fieldwork was carried out between January 9 and 11.

The City & Guilds Group has operations in more than 100 countries around the world which aim to ensure staff have the skills they need to help their company grow.

Many business organisations have warned that the UK is facing a crisis caused by skills shortages in key sectors.