We are currently experiencing possibly the biggest skills shortage in some key sectors, that has been seen in a generation. Especially affected are construction and hospitality.
So what has caused this sudden shortage?
There are two key factors at play. Firstly, over the pandemic lockdown period, many people who worked in these sectors became unemployed. Hotels and restaurants temporarily closed, and construction sites came to a standstill. Many people in those sectors found alternative employment in different industries and are now lost to these sectors.
The second contributing factor is the relatively high proportion of overseas employees in those sectors. These people have been affected by Brexit and its increasingly stringent bureaucratic requirements for overseas nationals wishing to work in the UK.
Figures released in January 2020, before the most significant affects of lockdown had been felt, suggested that in the construction industry alone a further 200,000 workers would be needed to hit the Government’s housing new-build targets. In the hospitality sector, Domino’s alone is currently seeking to fill 5,000 vacancies.
So how does this affect today’s skills and apprenticeships sector?
It is not unreasonable to believe that as employers vie to employ quality people in this very challenging job market, they will need to offer more attractive packages which as well as traditional remuneration will include commitments to training and career progression.
Simply put, an employer offering not just employment but also the opportunity to gain a meaningful qualification will have the advantage over other employers when trying to attract the best quality recruits.
For the training provider, this could present a rich vein of opportunity to work with medium sized employers looking to offer meaningful programmes, or larger employers who realise that their frequently unspent training levy can be directly utilised to offer this kind of programme.
Even for providers who don’t currently specialise in training specialised construction skills or kitchen-based qualifications, perhaps there’s an opportunity right now to offer these employers your customer service, team leading and business administration programmes. As the affects of the skills shortage really start to become apparent, this is going to become an increasingly critical issue for employers.