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Skills training: The Government IS listening

It’s never been more important for local businesses to have their say on skills training needs – because this month’s Budget has shown that the Government is listening.

That’s the view of the team at Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, which is leading the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) research project across the Marches region.

The Government-funded scheme is seeking to gain a better understanding of the area’s skills training requirements over the next three to five years.

It is targeting specific sectors across the including engineering, manufacturing, professional services, construction, environmental technologies, and health & social care.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed in the Budget that the Government was planning more frequent reviews of skills gaps across the UK – and that it has accepted recommendations to add five more construction industry jobs to the ‘Shortage Occupation List’ requiring urgent support.

Marches LSIP project manager Rosie Beswick said: “This is good news, and shows that this is a perfect opportunity right now for employers to shout about what they need.

“The lack of skilled labour is having a corrosive impact on our economy, the Government clearly recognises this, and the LSIP research is here to help.”

She added: “We have been selected by the Department for Education to undertake this work across the Marches area, which covers Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, and Herefordshire.

“Through a combination of questionnaires, text polls, and one-to-one interviews – all in total confidence – we want to discover how businesses are coping with staff recruitment and skills shortages.

“We need to engage with as many employers as we can, as quickly as possible, to ensure this vital information-gathering exercise is relevant and truly reflective of the whole economy.”

It’s easy for businesses to take part – starting by completing the survey which can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MLSIP-3

Rosie added: “It is absolutely crucial, in the current economic climate, that businesses and workers have access to the skills they need, to thrive and progress. Many employers are telling us that this is simply not the case at the moment.

“But things can only change for the better if decision-makers have a clear understanding of current gaps in training provision, barriers to access training, and the suitability of the education curriculum to prepare students for the 21st century business world.”

To find out more about the LSIP project, email r.beswick@shropshire-chamber.co.uk or email the administration team at lsip@shropshire-chamber.co.uk

There is also more information about the LSIP project on the policy and representation page of the Shropshire Chamber website, www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk/policy-representation