Is Britain Short of Skills?

Is Britain Short of Skills?

By Liam R Carr

previously published here

We often hear that employers can’t find people with the right skills. This may be used as an excuse for not taking workers on. The alternative approach is to employ someone with potential then invest in their training. The austerity-only approach of the government has created a climate where even business owners who are making massive profits prefer to sit on reserves of cash rather than invest in training a future workforce.There is however, a real skills shortage. Here are a few examples where there is a need for workers.
Science and Engineering: 
Engineers are needed in the Nuclear, offshore and renewable energy industry. There is a need for geologists, geophysicists and environmental scientists. Specialist high integrity pipe welders and high voltage overhead line repairers are desperately needed to work on pylons and in the energy sector.
Creative Industries: 
2D and 3D animators for film, TV and the computer games industry are in short supply, as are skilled chefs, ballet dancers and classical musicians (even in a recession, the rich still need to eat expensive food, listen to the philharmonic and enjoy the ballet )
Medicine and Health:
There is a shortage of haematologists, psychiatrists specialising in care of the elderly, clinical neurophysiologists, radiographers and neonatal nurses.The real tragedy is that there is a skills shortage in regions of high unemployment. Skills need to be put on the agenda in schools and colleges but all we see are retrograde steps.
 Gove wants to see students doing more traditional subjects; vocational courses are seen as less valuable. This is not the case in other countries. In Germany for example vocational and academic courses are seen as equally valid. It is possible to provide students with a variety of opportunities without creating a two tier system. A Tory approach to a skills shortage is to do nothing. They wait in hope that ‘market forces’ will sort everything out. Tackling youth unemployment is far too important to be left to market forces. We need to change perceptions of vocational education and run courses in parallel to GCSEs and A-Levels. Level 4 apprenticeships which are taken after A-Levels, should be applied for through the UCAS system rather being something obscure and separate.

The reality is this: We are living in a country where the children of today will have fewer opportunities than their parents. It is our duty to equip the workers of tomorrow with the skills they need to get on. In refusing to address this issue the government is failing the next generation, they are a government of opportunity for the few and the scrapheap for many.    


4 thoughts on “Is Britain Short of Skills?

  1. Pingback: The Mysterious Disappearance of Jobs and Skills | Think Left

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