Give youth a chance plea to Bristol firms as skills shortages start to hit home

August 8, 2014

Bristol firms are facing a looming skills crisis – yet there are thousands of young people desperate to work, new research warned this week

The study by the Prince’s Trust and HSBC reveals that 69% of businesses across the South West believe a significant skills crisis will hit their organisations within the next three years. Some 43% predict this will happen within the next 12 months.

Two thirds believe skills shortages are so serious they will slam the brakes on the UK’s economic recovery while a third fear that it would lead to their business folding.

However, 81% see the recruitment of young people into the workforce as vital to avert a skills crisis. Some 45% are already experiencing skills gaps in their organisations and more 56% have been unable to fill vacancies over the past year as a result.

As a result of the survey findings, youth charity The Prince’s Trust is calling on Bristol employers to invest in vocational training for unemployed young people to stem future skills shortages.

Regional director Dermot Finch said: “It is deeply concerning that employers in the South West are struggling to fill vacancies when we have thousands of unemployed young people who are desperate for work. The current economic recovery is encouraging, but in order to sustain this growth, UK plc needs to invest in the next generation to avoid a skills vacuum in the future.

“We are urging businesses to take action now to up-skill the workforce of the future to prevent the bubbling skills crisis from boiling over.”

West of England Local Enterprise Partnership director of skills Adam Powell added: “The West of England has a thriving economy with many businesses choosing to locate or invest here.

“If we want to build on this success, it’s vital we have a workforce equipped with the right skills. One of the key drivers of economic growth both locally and nationally is ensuring the current and future workforce are provided with the opportunities to develop the skills that business need.”

In Bristol, The Prince’s Trust is working with employers like the Marks & Spencer to help unemployed young people gain the skills they need to access available jobs.

The Prince’s Trust aims to help 58,000 unemployed young people across the UK this year, providing vocational training in sectors with identified skills shortages such as construction, retail and logistics.

Last month it officially opened its new Bristol centre – enabling it to take the way it transforms young lives to the next level.

The office in Victoria Street in the city centre is a hub for unemployed young people, equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to get back into work, education or training.

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