Skills shortages? Companies should stop whingeing and do something about it

Yet again shortly after the recent budget employers were complaining about a shortage of skilled workers.
The Confederation of British Industry called it a skills emergency and reported that more than 50% of the firms they had recently surveyed feared they would not be able to find the skilled people they needed to grow.
Given that there is no careers advice or service now in most schools, students are expected to arrange their own work experience and in any case it will take time for the effects of any improvements in education to feed through into the workplace, it makes no sense for businesses to call for Government action and wait around for results.
We know of pupils who have found it near-impossible to persuade local companies to provide work experience places, even for a week or two. Equally, businesses regularly use the excuse of being too busy to engage with students by coming into school to give talks, help with relevant projects or allow taster visits to their sites.
Without exposure to the workplace, how are young people supposed to understand the conventions of the workplace and is it really fair for businesses to then complain about new recruits being clueless?
Equally, providing proper apprenticeships as well as training and development for new and existing staff could well prove a faster route to getting the skills businesses need as well as the reward of a more loyal workforce that has benefited from such initiatives.
Like the failure to invest in R&D, many companies have sought to improve their short term profitability at the expense of their future viability.
Owners and directors should stop whingeing, take responsibility and do something about the skills shortage.

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