A major survey to uncover the skill gaps in Telford’s workforce has been launched.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s economic development team has set about speaking to individual businesses across the borough to identify where companies are struggling to fill skilled positions, with the results being fed back to education providers to tailor their courses accordingly.
As well as one-on-one meetings with major employers, companies that approach the council will be surveyed, a network of HR experts will have their views heard, while national perspectives will also be taken into account.
A council spokesman said: “We are taking data from lots of different sources – the UK CES commission for employment, a lot of one-to-one engagement with employers, and through a network of employers responsible for HR.
“Soft skills are a major issue across all sectors and link back to schools, and we are looking to influence the school provision to incorporate an element of that, as it’s something that needs to be worked on from an early age.
“In specific sectors we will look to develop the bespoke elements as and when they are identified, and manufacturing and engineering skills have already been pinpointed through the one-to-one engagement.
“Once we fully understand the skills gap, we can then maintain this information through close working relationships with businesses so as to respond to their needs to ensure Telford remains competitive.”
The council team is now working with a number of employers to address the gaps and have worked in partnership to apply for funding for the pilot project – The Employer Ownership of Skills.
If successful, it will enable a partnership to be developed which will help improve the skills of the local workforce and create opportunities for local unemployed people.
The work will be completed during the autumn, and will allow the council to work with education and training providers to ensure available courses and the curriculum reflect what is needed for businesses, to help young people and unemployed adults who are retraining to secure new roles.
The work is taking place at the same time as the Marches LEP is looking to develop the skill base of the area.
The LEP was awarded £100,000 earlier this year from the new Enterprise Zone Skills Fund to help support training and skills work across the region.
It is part of a £1.5 million fund announced for 15 LEPs with Enterprise Zones, however it will support skills strategies not just within the zone, but also across the wider LEP area. Its own results will also inform Telford & Wrekin Council’s study.