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Skills shortages continue to haunt firms

appointmentsBusiness is still suffering from acute skills shortages which are holding back manufacturing, construction and professional services, according to the latest CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey.

The Apprenticeship Levy is a particular worry and the Scottish Government is currently consulting on the implementation of the levy.

The survey reveals:

  • There is a welcome, growing demand for higher skills: over three quarters of businesses operating in Scotland (77%) expect to have more jobs for people with higher-level skills over the coming years, with more firms and needing more people with and leadership and management skills (70%)
  • Firms in Scotland are committed to developing talent in-house: with only 38% of training done externally, the majority use an in-house dedicated training and development budget (82%), mentoring and coaching opportunities (76%) or support employees to study part-time (70%) 
  • But there is a concern about future shortages: over two-thirds of businesses in Scotland (69%) are not confident about filling their high-skilled jobs in future.

Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, said: “Skills are a top business priority but over two-thirds of firms in Scotland think they won’t be able to get the people they need.

“Getting the skills and education system right, as the Scottish Government seeks to close the attainment gap, will remain a big challenge for ministers. 

‘The recent announcement of an enterprise and skills review, coupled with the new national delivery plan for Scottish education are positive steps that show the Scottish Government is alive to the challenges business face to recruit the right talent.

“Businesses want to see reforms that really improve outcomes for learners and will judge changes by that test alone.

“Getting the Apprenticeship Levy fit-for-purpose is a challenge for governments across the UK. This survey suggests it will need a genuine change of direction at UK level to give the Scottish Government time to make the reforms necessary for success.”

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