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Can graduate training bridge the post-Brexit skills gap?

Press Release
generation z

Brexit is perpetually fuelling more and more questions, within every industry across the UK. Many businesses are finding themselves with a diminished workforce and significant skills gap. Companies must now plan how they will manage these skills gaps in their workforce and build a team of employees, through increased training for new recruits.

What is the skills gap?
The UK skills gap is due to cost the country around £90bn if businesses fail to address the problem. The current skills gap has been pegged as primarily caused by Brexit, with many overseas workers choosing to leave the UK due to the referendum vote. This has resulted in skills shortages, meaning employers require skills from their employees that are not currently in their skill set. It is likely that many of these processes which required a specific set of skills were primarily possessed by EU workers, who have now left the country.

Brexit and the skills gap
For many overseas workers, leaving the UK was a decision based on how welcome they feel in the country they reside in, alongside the ability to now earn a better salary elsewhere, utilising their skills. Furthermore, some believe that the traditional academic education route has been too heavily emphasised and pushed onto young people over internships and developing skills outside of education. A combination of practical skills and academic education are simply not feasible for the majority of graduates, often they have only had exposure to the latter. However, graduate training programmes can be used to bridge these skills gaps and set your new employees up with the tools to fill these areas lacking in expert knowledge.

Brexit could also mean a fluctuation in the job market, which could cause a decrease in the number of jobs that are available, particularly for graduates. However, companies can aim to tackle any discrepancies between their graduates’ current skills and the skills they require, by choosing candidates who have a relevant qualification, experience or the makings of the what they require in terms of attitude and drive. This will then allow companies to implement graduate training programmes that will allow these new entrants to enter the workforce above junior level, following an in-depth learning course.

What does graduate training offer?
Graduate training allows your business to evaluate the current skill set of your recent hires. This can then be used to create a bespoke training course that pinpoints your skills gap and forms a new wave of your workforce. If you can identify the core skills that are either gradually decreasing within your workforce or have been entirely wiped out due to a large number of staff leaving, then your training materials can aim to fill these areas with new staff, tailored to your specifications. This information can then be used to design a programme which aims to improve workforce competency and devise ways in which to incorporate the development of these skills within experiential and traditional learning.

What is the benefit of incorporating skills gap training at graduate level? The benefit of training fresh-faced graduates is that they often have had little to no commercial experience. This means that they are a blank slate that can be developed in alignment with your business, organisational and leadership context. They are often unaware of the commercial processes that exist within a business as this is often lacking in academic education and therefore can approach skills with a fresh set of eyes. Offering new ideas for approaching the role and identifying areas where their knowledge can improve the way in which a problem is solved, can all be revealed through experiential training.

Utilising graduate training to break the skills gap cycle can ultimately lead to a lower overhead for recruitment. Future employment efforts should then be able to focus more on employing the right candidates, who can then be equipped with the skills you require for them to succeed. They will also benefit from a wide range of internal talent who can pass their skills and internal knowledge on to new starters, creating a continuous loop of internal learning, networking and collaboration.

Finally, graduate training will ensure that your workforce does not remain at the same pay grade and skill level for long periods of time once initially out of education. The incorporation of closing skills gaps within graduate training will bring value to your employees’ roles and, ultimately, offer a more efficient business. Two-thirds of British workers want their bosses to invest in health and safety technology to make workplaces safer, according to new research.

Sixty-eight  of employees believe digital health and safety solutions would help companies become more compliant and manage the safety of staff more effectively. A survey of 2,000 employees, which was conducted by award-winning data capture app provider, WorkMobile, found that 37  of staff think operations manuals and employee handbooks should be digitalised to make them easier to access and read. 19  believe digital employee handbooks would save businesses a lot of time and money when it comes to managing health and safety policies, making for greater compliance.

Worryingly, of those who were given safety guidance by their employer, 13  said their company’s handbook has never been updated since they first received it, mainly due to the time needed to update paper versions. But, it’s not just bosses who are failing to be health and safety compliant – almost half of employees (43 ) are failing to read the health and safety policies and procedures, even when their employer has supplied them. The answer to this problem lies in technology, as 64  say they would be more likely to read their manuals if they were provided in a digital format.

The survey was conducted as part of WorkMobile’s ‘Work Safe’ report, which looks at the current state of health and safety in the UK and where improvements need to be made to protect workers.

Colin Yates, chief support officer at WorkMobile, said: “To make sure workers can operate safely and compliantly, they need to be provided with the correct guidance on how to do so. Of course, monitoring who has received the information, who has read it and whether it’s up to date can be challenging – especially given that legislation often changes and new employees are regularly brought into businesses. It can be hard to keep up.

“But, workers are recognising that policies aren’t always up-to-date, and sometimes aren’t even properly communicated with staff. Now they’re demanding a more effective alternative to paper-based handbooks that will keep them safer – and they believe the answer lies in technology.

“We’re increasingly moving towards a paperless office, yet health and safety seems to be lagging behind when it comes to innovation. However, switching to a digital form of safety documents is extremely simple and can save businesses a lot of time and money – and headaches. With digital signatures, they’ll be able to check who has received the information and who has read it, making for greater compliancy.”

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