According to ‘The Open University Business Barometer Report’, across the UK the skills shortage is costing organisations £6.3 billion. Additionally, in the last year , 91% of organisations in the UK have struggled to find the right staff with the right skills. Employers believe the skills shortage situation is worsening.

The impact of this is that the recruitment process is taking longer, and businesses are paying a high price to ensure their organisations have the skills needed to remain productive. 

High recruitment fees, inflated salaries, temporary staff cover and new skills training for staff, resulting in an additional cost to the business. When performance gaps are identified, unless the resource is found quickly, talented workers with in-demand skill sets are able to take advantage of their strong position. 

Building a workforce that is fit for the future

It has been recognised that the continued prosperity of Milton Keynes as a dynamic business environment is reliant on having a workforce that is fit for the future. The key to gaining business prosperity fundamentally is having a suitably well-trained workforce led by forward-looking management, conversant with the business opportunities offered by new technologies.

The newly launched SkillsHub:MK, delivered by MK College, has introduced sector-based forums and future skills-focused projects aimed at plugging the skills gaps. Through, close involvement with the local further education sector, these will provide MK businesses with a defined framework to support the development of essential business training. 

Training is an investment, not a cost. 

Employee training is key to business performance and the benefits can influence every aspect and requirement – from improving staff morale to boosting profits.

An effective training strategy can quickly deliver a strong return on investment because staff are able to operate more efficiently. Employee development boosts productivity and a well-trained workforce means staff can take on new responsibilities and importantly the business can do more with less. 

The outcome is that individuals feel they are being given every opportunity to grow and develop and will be willing to stay with that business longer. This will deliver a more stable workforce and ensure the business gains a better return on investment for each individual hire.

Linking skills and knowledge development to the business goals

It is hard to devise curricula or the best learning strategies without being more precise about the skills needed. It is difficult to deliver training for skills that are in short supply if what is needed has not been well defined. Research undertaken by the SkillsHub:MK has already offered a number of initial themes and started to determine the types of high-demand skills will become increasingly important as a result. 

The SkillsHub:MK will help shape these requirements and will. contribute to future-proofing the skills local people for the world of work. In a future labour market that is more automated, digital, and dynamic, those looking for employment will benefit from having a skillset that will help them gain jobs whilst forthfilling the staffing needs of local business.

Potential employees will be able to add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines alone, by being able to operate effectively in a digital environment, and seamlessly adapt to new ways of working.

Themes being raised so far as current issues through the SkillsHub:MK include, how to…

  • recruit in a candidate-led marketplace?
  • keep your staff from leaving?
  • ensure fairness in the business and what a fair workplace looks like?
  • manage a team with flexible working arrangements?
  • build a coaching culture in the workplace?
  • define the skills development for your business growth?
  • operate within the Green Agenda?

By getting to the heart of these questions, businesses will be better able to connect their own business requirements with learning opportunities on offer and going forward, continue to invest in training and education for all their staff.

The remit of the SkillsHub:MK is to develop a cross-sector high-level view of the learning and development needs of Milton Keynes, and to discuss these issues so as to inform future training risks and skills gaps in these sectors. 

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Join the discussion

This is a crucial time for business and the SkillsHub:MK offers the ideal platform to shape the skills agenda. Everything is underpinned by having the right skills. If we get this right, it will have a positive impact on the local economy and shape the future education and training offer. 

SkillsHub:MK can advise on wide range of solutions for leadership learning and development issues as well as bring digital knowledge and AI (Artificial Intelligence) expertise to inform workforce development training through business consultation and engagement.

There is an open invitation to all local MK businesses to get involved. If you would like to find out more about the SkillsHub:MK, or want to discuss any business issues, please get in touch.