Why developing home grown talent has never been more important

Brexit, the skills gap and the forthcoming apprenticeship levy would each in their own right impact the early talent market. Here we explore four reasons why there has never been a better time to grow your own talent.

Addressing the skills gap is a priority

In or out of Europe, the UK is facing an impending skills gap. The issues of an aging workforce and challenges in recruiting the right young talent were well documented pre-Brexit.

In July 2016, the CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey found that finding highly skilled staff was a worry for 69% of the 500 employers surveyed.

Research by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills highlighted that over a third of vacancies in the construction and utilities industries are now due to skills shortages. The most common skills deemed to be lacking among existing staff were people and personal skills relating to workload management and teamwork. 

The challenges surrounding an aging workforce may not be new, but the demand for new recruits may be even harder to tackle post-Brexit.

Addressing the skills gap will require a creative approach, taking recruitment beyond the traditional candidate pools and seizing new opportunities to upskill and retrain your current workforce.

Getting ready for Brexit

Love or hate Marmite, the media frenzy reporting its shortage on our supermarket shelves served as a reminder to us all that as a nation we rely heavily on imports. A rise in the cost of imports seems inevitable, and recruiters are likely to face a parallel challenge. For many UK employers the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) 2015 survey will make familiar reading:

  • 60% of UK chemicals companies recruit graduates from overseas.
  • Nearly 40% of these companies think the skills and knowledge of overseas graduates are stronger than those educated in the UK.

CIA’s post-Brexit survey also showed that:

  • 71% of companies predict that employment levels will remain the same or increase

We may not yet know what ‘Brexit means Brexit’ will look like – but early indicators show how employers are preparing. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) annual survey showed that the number of graduate jobs on offer shrunk by nearly 8% post-Brexit (versus a 2% growth prediction pre-Brexit). Those surveyed said in reaction to Brexit they had shifted their early talent focus to apprenticeships. As research from the Skills Funding Agency showed that apprentices are statistically more likely to stay with an organisation than other recruits, this may reduce your need for overseas recruitment in the long-term.

Making the most of your apprenticeship levy

Despite calls to delay the apprenticeship levy post-Brexit, it is going ahead as planned. If your organisation’s UK payroll is over £3M per year, from April 2017 you will pay 0.5% to the levy each month. Your funds will go into a digital account and from May 2017 you will be able to spend them on your apprentice training.

New apprenticeship standards developed by employers specify the exact knowledge, skills and behaviours that are required of the future UK workforce. As per employers’ wishes, behaviour requirements are now an integral component of each apprenticeship as the right behaviours are critical for your workplace. From looking at the standards that have already been approved, these behaviours are an example of those that have been identified:

Using your levy on behavioural development will also support the growth of the employability skills many young apprentices will need as they transition from education into employment and help others to operate confidently in their new role.

Developing behaviours

To remain competitive in a post-Brexit Europe, The Trust agree with the voice of industry that it is essential that the current and future workforce are equipped with 21st century skills in order for the UK to remain competitive.

A 16-year old apprentice starting out today may not reach retirement age until 2068. As you think about the roles you will need, remember that in 50 years’ time the technical skills and knowledge provided in 2016 will likely appear archaic, but get the behaviours right and that should see your home grown talent throughout their careers.

Since The Outward Bound Trust’s foundation in 1941 we’ve been refining and adapting our approach to ensure that it continues to be relevant to the world of business whilst remaining inspirational, challenging and motivational for individuals. The political and economic landscape is as changeable today as it was 75 years ago and we firmly believe that developing young people to be willing to take ownership of their own future, who have the resilience to thrive in our ever changing complex world, with a mindset that gives them the desire to learn and to be open to change are as important today as it was then.

Growing your own talent allows you the exciting opportunity to shape the development that your organisation needs for the future.