Opinion

Upskill existing staff to overcome shortages

By Fiona Hawkesley

- Last updated on GMT

Hawkesley: ‘We are increasingly advising our employer partners to resolve skills shortages with apprenticeship training’
Hawkesley: ‘We are increasingly advising our employer partners to resolve skills shortages with apprenticeship training’
Skills shortages in food manufacturing are an increasing problem. With a large proportion of the industry’s workforce coming from outside the UK, Brexit will inevitably trigger a skills crisis.

A recent survey carried out by MCP Management Consultants also reported significant gaps in training investment across the food and drink manufacturing industry, further heightening the issue.

Yet it’s no secret that the apprenticeships landscape has changed significantly over the past 18 months, with large employers contributing to the Apprenticeship Levy and the Government offering funded training for adults. So, how can this positive change and investment be applied to the growing problem?

Resolve skills shortages

In the context of a changing market, we are increasingly advising our employer partners to resolve skills shortages with apprenticeship training. And, in almost every case, this makes a tangible difference to their organisation.

It’s important for businesses to develop programmes that not only help individuals to achieve a qualification, but also is bespoke to their organisation.

We build apprentices’ skills, confidence and knowledge of the production line to drive efficiencies, apply lean principles and develop ways in which an operational task can be delivered with greater efficiency. In many cases, the programmes we are implementing can also be offered to upskill existing colleagues.

Effective apprenticeships

MCP reported that 40% of food and drink firms had effective apprenticeships, but only 7% looked at continuous training and problem-solving with existing staff.

So, apprenticeship training offers a promising route for skills development in the long term, giving the opportunity to develop a highly skilled and knowledgeable team, while solving skills gaps within a business and ensuring a smooth and efficient operation.

Fiona Hawkesley is national accounts director at Remit Group​.

Related topics: People, Skills Gap

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