AS many businesses face a unprecedented storm to actually survive the energy crisis, they more than ever need young people with an aptitude for skills.
That is why here at Business West we are delighted to have been chosen by government to run local skills improvement plans -or LSIPs-across Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire and the West of England.
As one of the largest chambers of commerce in the UK, Business West sees this as a major opportunity to help employers recruit the right young people with the skills they need to drive their business.
Business wants work ready, enthusiastic young people and to recruit them we need a collaborative teamwork of employers, education and training providers to work together.
The big difference with the LSIPs programme is that it is all about listening to business-to what they want.
This will hopefully lead to key priorities and changes needed to ensure post-16 technical education and training prepares employees better for work.
As a former journalism apprentice myself-albeit many years ago-I firmly believe and support this route to skilled jobs.
We have great examples of companies here in Gloucestershire which have encouraged apprenticeships-especially in the specialist engineering sector.
I sincerely hope that the new Prime Minister will now address the anomalies of the apprenticeship system-like the levy-to make taking on young people easier.
The importance of skills is underlined by the latest job vacancies for Gloucestershire from Jute Blackmon of GFirstLEP.
He tells me the July figures were 20 000 which is up just over 3 000 on June.
At 2.2%, Gloucestershire’s unemployment rate is very low and the fact we have 20 000 vacant jobs is on the face of it good news in the current climate. But the true story is that post-Covid employment and working patterns have changed.
One thing has not changed-the need for more skilled young people because skills are an essential part of the key to unlock more productivity.