Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was established in 2011 to help address key business issues with the government that will ultimately help Dorset’s economic growth. Thanks to a survey carried out early this year, they have now identified a number of important skill gaps in the local workforce.
The findings relate to the start of 2020, so the data does not cover the period of time in which businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus. However, the information the survey offers will help employers across Dorset move their business forward by indicating the sort of training their employees need to help them contribute more effectively to the growth of the business.
242 employers in the county took part in the survey, 159 of which are located within the BCP area. The results suggest 56% of the businesses have skill gaps in their workforce. Of this 56%, the largest gaps relate to the areas of technical and practical skills, leadership and managerial, and sales and marketing.
A promising result was that 83% of employers have been taking action action when it comes to boosting their employees skillset with some form of training, 62% of which is carried out on-the-job, and 37% is undertaken with a formal training programme within the company.
The survey has also provided some information that may cause a degree of concern; just 8% of the business responding to the survey were employing apprentices, and less than half of the employers wanted to see an improvement in the provision of training for their employees. As 111 of the 242 employers reported skill gaps, and almost a third of the businesses noted a lack in digital, sales or marketing skills, there are clear benefits to be gained by enhancing current training methods.
This is where the LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel and Board come in. Based on the results of the survey, they are ‘identifying strategic priorities for the county and developing a long-term skills plan’, which, they say, will include requesting funding for the government to help support businesses and their employees, especially in view of the current economic climate.