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Plugging the gap: How do we tackle the Digital skills shortage across Greater Manchester?

Plugging the gap: How do we tackle the Digital skills shortage across Greater Manchester?

48% of employers in Greater Manchester are struggling to find candidates with digital skills

 32% reported they experienced a lack of applicants in general

Many business owners unaware of suitable courses available to upskill existing staff

National training course provider, The B2W Group, has recently introduced several digital “upskilling” training courses available for local employers in Greater Manchester, with include higher level skills, up to level 3.

The aim of these digital training courses is to train existing staff members in key digital skills that are currently missing from an organisation.

It comes after findings from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce revealed that around half of local employers in the region are struggling to find candidates with the required skills to fulfil their vacancies in digital and IT.

The B2W Group recently held a panel discussion at the Chamber’s main office at Elliot House, Deansgate, where local employers aired their concerns at the digital skills gap in the area, as well as their difficulties in recruiting for these roles.

Subrahmaniam Krishnan-Harihara, Head of Research at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, revealed some key learnings about the digital skills gaps across the region, which he’s gathered as part of the ongoing Local Skills Improvement Plan.

Speaking at the panel discussion, he said:

“Out of 3,000+ local employers we spoke to, we found that there’s many who are still struggling to attract applicants with the relevant skills required for the role they’re advertising for.

“Around half (48%) of the employers we surveyed reported that they have a low number of applicants with the skills needed to do the job, with most struggling to find applicants with software, programming and even basic IT skills.

“There was also 30% of employers who expressed a lack of applicants generally, which could point to the current labour shortage in the region. There were also many employers who said they were unaware of any suitable training courses to potentially upskill existing staff.”

Subrahmaniam also revealed that the most common industries with digital skills gaps tend to be in health and social care, manufacturing, and construction.

To try and combat the skills gaps in the region, The B2W Group has announced a series of digital upskilling training courses in Greater Manchester. These have been introduced to provide a particular focus on the Greater Manchester region, concentrating on the biggest skills gaps identified by both local employers and the Chamber of Commerce.

Business Development Manager, Andrew Morris, said:

“By pivoting our business model to fulfil the biggest requirements of the local employers, we can provide more options for training both employed staff, and those currently unemployed.

“We believe that this approach provides a strategic and beneficial solution to help plug the digital skills gaps across Greater Manchester – focusing on the key skills required in this area.

“The panel discussion we held with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the first step in a series of events, designed to stimulate debate and provide a pathway for change linked to key skills gaps across Greater Manchester in particular.”

Chris Fletcher, the Policy & Communications Director at the Chamber, echoed this approach and believes the region needs to act fast to ensure it doesn’t fall behind other area of the UK.

Chris said:

“I’d like to thank The B2W Group for hosting this discussion, as I think it’s an important topic for our region and we’ll see a lot more to come from it in the coming months.

“What we do know is that we can’t afford to waste resources in the current climate. We’ve got to get a lot smarter in how we get people into jobs with the relevant skillsets required by employers, and try to tackle how we upskill current members of staff.

“We’re doing our bit with the Local Services Improvement Plan, and I know training providers such as The B2W Group are doing theirs too.”

The B2W Group has since published an insight paper of findings from the panel discussion held with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which you can read and download here: Skills Gaps In Digital Technology & IT: Are We Driving Jobs For The Future?

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