The Skills Revolution – How to grow your workforce

  • 30 Mar 2022

Join the Skills Revolution and grasp opportunity to boost business growth

SMEs are being urged to make the most of a national appetite for workplace skills development, as new research shows 70% of the nation’s workforce are interested in upskilling in 2022. With tens of millions of employees around England interested in learning new skills in their job this year, organisations are being urged to ‘Join the Skills Revolution’ and grasp this opportunity to boost their business growth. 

The Censuswide survey of over 4,000 of the nation’s workforce indicated that employees are feeling more optimistic about their career goals in 2022 compared with last year and clearly showed the potential for upskilling existing staff to boost business performance.

 

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Secretary of State for Education said: “It is no secret that a skilled and motivated workforce is the key to driving better performance and boosting productivity. There has never been a better time to make skills a top priority. 

To support businesses to unlock untapped talent there is a huge range of training available to help upskill their staff for free including online courses to boost numeracy to apprenticeships, traineeships, T Levels or our Skills Bootcamps.”  

The ‘Skills Revolution’ campaign will showcase hundreds of government-funded skills opportunities available to help businesses to upskill their employees, find new talent and be a part of training the future workforce. The opportunities on offer have been designed by and in partnership with employers of all sizes, listening to businesses to meet their needs.

The schemes include everything from Apprenticeships to T Level industry placements, with flexible and supported programmes that work for SMEs and address the skills and recruitment issues many face when trying to develop as a business. Funding and incentive payments are also available for employers, with SME’s receiving 95% of apprenticeship training costs and £1000 on offer for those hosting traineeships and T Level industry placements. 

Viren Patel, Director of the Business Development Unit at The Open University, commented on the benefit of businesses upskilling, stating it “helps with attraction and retention of staff, provides motivation and engagement”. It is a known fact that SMEs find it difficult to compete sector wide when it comes to recruitment and the retention of skilled employees, however upskilling through this government campaign intends to address this well-documented SME struggle.

Furthermore, the ‘grow your own’ approach that this campaign adheres to offers additional benefits to small firms. Having an apprentice or T Level student working for you so early on in their career means they can be shaped to fit your business’s needs, alongside giving your business early access to the brightest young talent entering the market and the opportunity to shape the workforce of the future.

 

Indeed, Saira Hussain, Director of HAD & Co Property Consultants, believes this approach has worked wonders for her SME which she was looking to rebuild after the pandemic. Saira has found that “training someone up from a beginner means that you’re able to shape them and fit them to what you need in your business” and said that “One of the main things I’ve realised with apprentices is that they’re extremely loyal, a lot more loyal than anyone else that you’re going to take on”.  

Fashion Enter Limited (FEL), similarly advocate for this campaign. FEL is an award-winning SME ethical garment manufacturer who believe technical education is the backbone of their business and aim to have 20 apprentices by 2022. As an industry heavily impacted by Brexit, FEL feel apprentices have been integral to their organisation and believe that apprentices have helped to fill skills gaps and improve efficiency within the company by 15%.

Louis-Christian Pendegrass, the Apprenticeship Tutor at FEL, said: “The advantage of apprenticeships is in the experience gained, where ultimately you have a skilled member of staff who has learned your business from the ground up in their role and is there to provide live industry knowledge.”

From increased employee retention to a wider talent pool for recruitment, SMEs who join the Skills Revolution make themselves available to a whole host of benefits. Join the Skills Revolution now and drive better performance in your business. Visit gov.uk/skills-support to find skills opportunities designed by employers, for employers.  

For more information, listen to the First Voice podcast on ‘Growing skilled staff through employment and training schemes’ where we talk to fellow SMEs about their experiences accessing training through the government's Skills for Life and Skills Revolution campaign.   

 

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