Helping to plug that skills gap
THE views of businesses and training providers are being sought as part of a new project aimed at plugging the skills gap in the Humber.
With employers struggling to recruit despite high unemployment, and the potential for thousands of new jobs to be created in renewable energy, the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a skills commission to identify how education and training can be developed to best meet the needs of local businesses.
The seven-strong commission will operate like a select committee in the House of Commons, and hopes to hear from businesses, education and training providers, as well as those who have struggled to access training.
A key aim of the project will be to secure cash from the government to help shape the local curriculum and training programmes, meaning learning will be tailored specifically to the area.
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Commission member Nina Stobart, communications lead at Phillips 66 Humber Refinery and head of the Business, Education and Enterprise Partnership (Beep), said: "The skills shortage is not unique to the Humber. However, it is a big problem.
"For example, we recently received more than 900 applicants for one job. However, when we went through the applications, there were probably about two-thirds which did not meet the required skills.
"People are leaving schools and colleges without the level of skills required by employers. Unless something is done the problem will continue.
"Many businesses have complained they are unable to recruit the right skills but we now need them to step up and do something about it."
Other members of the commission include chairman of the Humber LEP Lord Haskins and representatives of major local employers, schools and colleges.
It is being chaired by Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin, a former college principal, who said: "There is already a lot of work relating to skills and training taking place across the Humber. However, we know there's still more to do.
"With the Siemens development on the north bank and Able UK on the south bank, there are going to be huge opportunities to get jobs in the renewables industry, for example.
"Therefore, we have to make sure we have the relevant skills in place and the capacity to deliver.
"It is a big opportunity but it is also a big challenge. We know there are employers across the Humber who are struggling to recruit the right skills and so we need them to tell us what they need."
The commission will be publishing a formal call for evidence with some key questions shortly, but any comments and ideas can be e-mailed to email@example.com