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UK Trade Association Warns Of Need To Rethink Skills Agenda

Trade Association Releases Guidelines On Ways To Strengthen UK Economy

By Ashish PrabhuPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Image: Financial Times

A trade body which is in charge of the professional recruitment sector has published a set of guidelines which help to define what it plans to do to help increase the strength of the UK's labour market. The Association Of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) who work with organisations all around the world have offices in Australia, Germany, throughout South East Asia and the UK. This helps to give a broader outlook on what is going on in the recruitment industry in different areas of the world and this can help to find ways that the lives and working patterns of many different workers can be improved in order to ensure that they have a better work/life balance and don't unintentionally burn out due to high levels of working tasks and low performance.

According to data collected by the organisation, there is a continued skills shortage which is being felt by many firms and businesses through out the UK. This can drastically affect there output and mean that the economy weakens due to decreasing numbers of products in the market place. This heavily influences the amount of choice customers and clients have meaning that many more businesses are more likely to occur unarranged debts due to lack of incoming revenue. There was a drastic fall in the number of vacancies from different companies at the start of the year and this has increased the need for funding in skills and flexible working patterns.  In its submission to the Treasury, the trade body highlighted four crucial areas that need to be addressed in the Chancellor's Spring Budget.

The outlook for training and developing different people's skills for a wide variety of careers is not fit for purpose at a time when more workers need flexible working patterns. There needs to be an improved look at developing a broader skills levy which will help create a modular training system. This will help to give improved access for the training of independent professionals and self employed workers. The levy should be used by recruiters and outsources to fund flexi-apprenticeships for agency workers is needed. Funding should also be used to improve the number of public sector roles which people can apply for such as teaching jobs. This helps to improve the availability of different training opportunities which may be available to the work force of the future, creating a brighter outlook for the UK economy. There should also be more vacancies in the health system which will help reduce the pressure which is currently being felt by many institutions.

While a national skills strategy is needed, this should recognise and drive investment in skills and training in urban hubs and regions with strengths in particular industries. This includes channelling investment into areas such as Newcastle and Sheffield to create new centres of excellence in technology and scientific skills.

Skills gaps that cannot be plugged by the domestic labour market need an international solution. However, the Tier 5 and fast track visa schemes are too narrow in focus. Funding needs to be increased for the Home Office to both support existing systems and drive new visa routes which are more viable for highly skilled, self-employed project workers.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director of APSCo comments:

"The UK's labour market has faced a lot of upheaval in the last few years as Brexit, Off Payroll reforms and the Covid-19 pandemic all altered the world of work. However, the consistent issue that has faced businesses has been a lack of access to the skills and resources required. For our economy to grow we must ensure that the labour market is dynamic, flexible, and innovative to attract the right talent, both domestically and internationally. Support needs to be put in place to allow existing talent and workers to up skill and re-skill where they, or their employers, need or want to. A dynamic, modern, and flexible labour market with enough skilled workers to help the country grow is key to a prosperous economy. Without this, the UK's ability to bounce back out of any economic uncertainty will be hindered."


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