How savvy businesses are developing their workforce

There’s been a growing skills shortage in the engineering sector, with an ageing workforce making that gap widen further. David Higham, Commercial Director at Learning Unlimited, takes a look at how successful employers are those that are growing their own talent to ensure that their businesses are in safe hands for the future.

Savvy employers are finding a way of nurturing their own skilled workforce, not just through apprenticeships but through the development of existing staff. It’s only through a combination of the two that they will be able to plug the growing skills gap that’s gripping the industry.

David Higham, Commercial Director at Learning Unlimited.

David Higham, Commercial Director at Learning Unlimited.

It’s not just about bringing new talent into the organisation. Employers need to consider apprenticeship and development programmes for their existing employees too. There is a misconception that apprenticeships are only available to young school leavers but, in fact, there’s no age barrier as apprenticeships are a perfect way of helping current employees develop their skills, whilst also widening their skillset.

There are many employees who would love the opportunity to develop and progress within the organisation. They might like the chance to gain new skills to climb the career ladder, develop their professional skills or receive recognition for the experience and knowledge they already have. Older members of staff can do higher level apprenticeships that include HNC, HND and degrees in engineering.

While this extra training is a good way of boosting staff morale and motivating existing employees, employers benefit too as they can use this as a way of evaluating the skills of the people within the organisation. It gives them the chance to stand back, look at the bigger picture and fill a skills gap within the organisation. At the same time it helps develop a more flexible workforce.

It’s also a good opportunity to identify those who have the potential to progress into management roles and take the organisation into the future. Identifying and growing talent to fill key positions in the future is vital. Developing the right calibre of managers to implement and support business growth is critical for long term success.

Engineering apprenticeships are still one of the most viable options for companies who want to stay ahead of the skills shortage. By training someone through an apprenticeship, employers are fostering new skills and gaining someone that they can shape and equip with essential skills and knowledge. It’s genuinely a cost-effective way of training someone up and building the specific skillset that the business will need to take them into the future and meet the changing market needs.