MECNW Helps Tackle Skills Shortages
Fears that UK industry is failing to tackle widespread skills shortages and that skill sets are falling short of employers’ expectations can be avoided if business leaders and training colleges work more closely together, according to the head of one of the region’s major engineering training centers.
Terry Weston, Skills Director at Maritime & Engineering College North West (MECNW), a Mersey Maritime Group Company, warned, “The effect of skills shortages is already being widely felt in today’s workforce. While it will take some time to adequately address this issue, it is vital that the process gets underway. Employers need to work with colleges like MECNW to upskill existing staff and invest in accredited apprenticeship training to ensure they are able to meet current and future demand.”
He added, “MECNW experience proves that tailoring each apprenticeship model for the individual employer works, being prepared to abandon traditional models of delivery, protecting the entry level requirements to ensure better candidates, and extensively engaging the employer in the direct training of the apprentice.”
He was responding to a recent survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in its ninth annual Engineering and Technology: Skills & Demand in Industry report, which revealed that companies are hiring at the fastest rate for 16 years and yet skill sets are falling short of employers’ expectations.
The IET report revealed that over half of employers (51%) were recruiting engineering staff this year and were finding it difficult to meet demand. Out of those employed, 44% of engineering, IT and technical recruits did not meet employers’ expected standards.
Weston said, “A recent Ofsted inspection of MECNW commented that many of our first and second year apprentices are working at levels not expected of them until their final year. This supports our view that apprenticeships work, can contribute in a more timely way and more importantly, support the wider skills gap solution.”