Numerous articles continue to cite the scary fact that up to 20% of workers within the industry could be retiring over the next 10 years alongside the UK preparing to exit the EU, with no guarantee that EU born workers will be able to continue to work in the UK. We have reflected on the reasons Futureworks Yorkshire was ‘born’ 4 years ago. The issues remain with industry magazines, reports from CITB and the national news continuing to raise awareness about skills shortages, alongside expectations that workers will be able to work for longer just because we are living longer and the negative impacts that ‘physical’ jobs can have on your health.
So how are we going to ensure our industry doesn’t suffer?
We hear about people not wanting to retire but as physical elements of the job begin to take their toll, such as musculoskeletal issues, there is no alternative. Though at the same time there are perceptions that people are expected to continue working regardless of the type of job, with thoughts that they will ‘just get on with it’. We must though take into consideration that where jobs are physical, changes to roles could be the solution and prevent further issues to the worker, whilst at the same time ensuring we don’t lose the knowledge. The experienced workforce could still be there to offer mentoring, provide guidance and supervise tasks performed by those that are learning the trades, including apprentices!
We are advocates and make no apologies for continuing to ‘bang the drum’ about supporting the skills development of our young workforce, but now we think it is vital and suggest with these factors it is now more important than ever to look at the benefits and options that apprentices bring. There is enormous value with the support and guidance our more experienced workforce can offer to those still progressing through the ranks is as equally beneficial. What we don’t want to happen is that we continue to lose a significant percentage of the industry’s wisdom and knowledge as a result of retirement and the political landscape.
Lets’ look at it the way we look at guidance, stories and words of wisdom which are passed through family generations… we have all heard of the ‘special family recipe’ or stories of grandparents, aunties and uncles being war heros .…….. because people don’t want to lose precious memories and traditions. The same applies in the ‘world of work’. There are preferred methods that companies use, there are precious trade secrets that can make some tasks simpler and there is often the one member of staff who has easy solutions to everyday problems. Let them share that knowledge across the workforce and use it to train those coming out of school. With the focus on apprenticeships, the economy to be boosted by 3 million additional ones in the next 3 years – now is a good a time as any.
We see companies all the time eager to support young people ‘learn the job’, our support team and mentors can help them to learn in the best way possible. We need to continue to build the momentum and share the knowledge before it is lost. Not only will it directly support the skills gap but it will support our future workforce to successfully progress with their careers.
We could carry on talking about these issues continuously, but for now we will conclude our April Blog here.
Hannah & Catherine