Latest FE Jobs:
Why we need to bring the work place closer
Today the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity that ...

Read more

Success for all
What does the decline in Apprenticeship success rates actual...

Read more

Mind the [Skills] Gap
Sandy Lindsay MBE, Chair of the IoD and North West Business ...

Read more

How will the Work and Health Programme Impact the Frontline?
Since the results of DWP’s Umbrella Agreement have bee...

Read more

Sector Response to the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network
The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) has be...

Read more

UTCs are not the problem
For 150 years England has got technical education wrong and ...

Read more

We Cannot Be All Things To All People
Further education is now a mixed economy in terms of creatin...

Read more

Why we need to bring the work place...
Success for all
Mind the [Skills] Gap
The overlooked gap in the apprenticeship industry and...
How will the Work and Health Programme Impact...
Sector Response to the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network...
UTCs are not the problem
We Cannot Be All Things To All People...

FE Voices

National Apprenticeship Week – The Views of One of the Leading Apprenticeship Providers

In preparation for National Apprenticeship Week, 3aaa Apprenticeships have launched a designated section on their website, specifically tailored for young people, employers, schools and parents to help increase awareness of Apprenticeships nationwide and bust the...

Antony Jenkins is formally appointed chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships

Antony Jenkins Chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships

Antony Jenkins has officially appointed the chair of the Insitute of Apprenticeships. He was previously the Shadow Chair since June 2016, where he has been an ambassador for the institute and has played a key...

  1. Latest News
  2. Popular News
  3. Popular Video
  4. Submit Content
Have an article you wish to share with the community?
Click here to become an approved FE News member and submit your content

Employers have voiced their concerns over the negative impact of skills shortages in the retail sector through a recent survey, it was announced yesterday.

The poll has found that most employers fear that 2006 will see them hampered by a lack of skilled workers to fill their vacancies. Furthermore, there are concerns over the skills levels of the existing workforce on the part of almost four out of five of the respondents. Fear of competition might be expected to encourage them to meet this shortage through involvement in training programmes, but the poll also reveals that a little over 10 % of the employers are actually involved in such a scheme.

The Feedback

The figures make for stark reading for both the FE sector hoping to tackle skills shortages across the workforce and for the employers. 72% of those asked predicted that their business will be threatened in 2006 by a lack of skilled personnel to fill recruitment needs. An even greater proportion (79%) believe that their competitive position in the marketplace suffers from the skills gaps in their present workforce.

One of the greatest single fears of the retail sector was competitiveness (alongside issues such as online shopping and falling customer spending), with 90% expressing their concerns on this. One in four (26% to be precise) of those surveyed expect that they will fail to meet business targets in the next financial year, which certainly paints a grim picture for those suffering from rising overheads and falling customer participation.

Failure to Act

There is a broad level of support for vocational learning amongst the employers. An impressive 82% supporting vocational training provision. This figure is higher than in any other business sector. A further 87% believe that there is a clear link between training and profitability, and 98% agree that encouraging staff to increase their skills helps to increase employee satisfaction and retention. Foundation degrees are the most popular of the training options sought by employers for their staff, with the unique combination of academic knowledge and work-based experience pleasing 82% of those surveyed.

With the wealth of information on the benefits of training for staff, and the awareness demonstrated above of the competitive advantage gained through having a better trained workforce, it is saddening to notice that in this case words seem to be more popular than action. Only 12% have actually been involved to date in designing courses to help combat the skills issues that their business faces, and 18 % are not involved with any kind of vocational training for their workforce.

Minister Calls for Better Participation

Bill Rammell MP, the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, said: "I am pleased to see employers in the retail sector continue to back vocational qualifications. I want more UK business leaders to come on board and commit to the design and delivery of Foundation Degrees.

"Foundation Degrees were introduced in 2001," he continued, "designed in conjunction with business so that they are specifically tailored to individual employers needs and can help bridge sector-specific skills gaps. The feedback from early adopters such as Youngs Bluecrest and Radisson Edwardian shows that these qualifications have real, quantifiable benefits to the bottom line. Wed like to see more employers seizing the skills initiative - and reaping the benefits."

Jethro Marsh

Are other industry sectors any better in training? Tell us in the FE Blog


Exclusive articles from Further Education sector specialists, our team of reporters give you the latest breaking news and updates on emerging education strategies. With our Press Release section you can view the latest Press Releases across FE, and see breaking news – even before it reaches a reporter's desk!

FE News also ‘shoot’ video interviews and news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Further Education and Employability sectors.

FE News RSS Feeds


FE Careers Jobs RSS Feeds