New research from leading skills body City & Guilds Group has revealed that workers in the UK’s manufacturing sector are missing out on crucial opportunities to upskill for the future.

The research – conducted as part of celebrations to mark the City & Guilds Group’s 140th anniversary year – found that one in three people working in the manufacturing industry did not learn any new workplace skills last year and less than half (46%) of those surveyed get enough help and support to upskill from their employer.

The vast majority of people working in manufacturing (80%) believe it is important to continuously update their workplace skills regardless of age or career stage – and with good reason, as 48% anticipate that the skills they need to do their jobs will change significantly over the next five years.

Looking at the barriers preventing workers in manufacturing from learning new skills, time is the biggest constraint, with nearly half (49%) saying they are unable to take time away from their day jobs for training. A further 37% cited a lack of investment in training and development by their employers, and 25% said they do not get enough feedback from managers to help with progression.

Martin Hottass, Group Director at City & Guilds Group, says:

“The manufacturing industry is critical for the UK’s growth and prosperity as we navigate the challenges and complexities of the fourth industrial revolution, and technological advances render skills obsolete quicker than ever before. Learning shouldn’t stop once an individual leaves school or college and enters the workforce. Ongoing training throughout the lifetime of a career is particularly important for an industry like manufacturing – which relies on its workers operating with the highest levels of technical skills. It is vital that businesses are offering opportunities for employees to continually learn, develop and upskill.”

This training lag presents an urgent concern for UK manufacturing post-Brexit especially as 23% of people in this sector believe that leaving the European Union will have a negative effect on the availability of staff at their business.

Martin Hottass continues “As the UK approaches a disruptive and uncertain period, it is more important than ever to have a workforce that is prepared for the future. We need the Government to work together with training providers and employers to ensure we have a skills system that is capable of supporting a post-Brexit Britain.”

About the research

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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,303 workers. The manufacturing sector total sample size was 125 workers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th-11th January 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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