In May we hosted our first ever Employer Forum, bringing together businesses from across Somerset. The organisations ranged from SMEs to large employers, and included representation from early years, the public sector, creative industries and the service sector.
The aim of the forum is to give employers a voice and for us to listen. We want to hear about the barriers to training, challenges in recruitment and skills gaps and understand more about employer needs, so we can do better to support employers and their workforce.
What are the hot topics?
- Recruitment – Employers are in agreement that recruiting remains a challenge. This is more apparent in industries where historically the career pathway is less attractive to younger people. Wages are also a factor, as is mobility to access jobs in a rural county such as Somerset.
- Skillset – The lack of skills needed to be successful in the job, especially around soft skills needed. Those entering the job market need support around resilience, culture and expectations and as a training provider, this is something we can clearly take on board when preparing people for employment.
- School leavers – Those leaving education in the last couple of years seem less prepared for work than previously. This is likely to be the result of time spent learning in lockdown. Employers discussed gaps in team work, using initiative and how scene setting and expectations is now more important than ever as part of the on-boarding process.
- Barriers to training – These include lack of time, buy-in required from line managers, pressure on ratios of staff and travel.
At our next forum event, we plan to delve deeper into skills required to succeed in employment, especially the soft skills. We’ll also look at how to attract applicants. And, of course, we’re keen to gain insight into other areas and discuss ideas.
When is our next Forum?
Our next forum is taking place online on Wednesday 5 July from 2pm-2.45pm.
Please contact Dave, our Head of Employer Engagement, by email at email@example.com if you’d like to join the forum, and add your voice to the discussions.