MPs warning on skills

Brexit causing staff shortages say Scots managers

Health service workers are in short supply

Scottish businesses and public sector organisations told a Commons committee that they are struggling to fill jobs because Brexit is creating a negative, uncertain image of the UK overseas.

Representatives of the food and drink, tourism, health and social care sectors said there were difficulties recruiting and training staff, particularly in Scotland’s rural communities.

They told MPs that sterling’s fall in value since the EU referendum was also impacting on recruitment as it reduced the value of earnings workers could send back to their families abroad.

David Thomson, chief executive of Food and Drink Federation Scotland, said: “It is about flexibility and … the ability to grow, and food and drink in Scotland has the ambition to grow turnover to £30 billion by 2030 and we need people to do the work. Without people to fill 27,000 jobs in next 10 years, then we are going to struggle to meet that ambitious target.”

Dr Donald Macaskill, the chief executive of Scottish Care, told the parliamentary committee that 6% to 8% of his nurses at care homes were from the European Economic Area.

“For us, Brexit isn’t something that we are waiting to happen, it’s something that is already starting,” said Dr Macaskill.

“We are hearing anecdotally in the last year that more and more individuals are working out that it is more profitable for them to work back in their own country.”

Shirley Rogers, director of health workforce at the Scottish health service, said up to 6% of doctors, 4% of nurses in training and 2% of dentists in Scotland were from the EU.

She said there had been a 96% drop in the number of EU citizens recruited by the UK Royal College of Nursing this year.

“It’s about how welcome and attractive we are in a world where (professionals) can go to America, Canada, Australia or anywhere else,” she said. “My anxiety is around the messaging that we are sending to people.”


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