What skills does your business need to survive and thrive?

22nd October 2020

Northern College is calling out to businesses across Sheffield City Region, to understand their skills gaps as a result of the economic climate and Covid-19. This is to support them to recover, develop and grow.

Small to medium enterprises are reporting that not enough is being done to make sure they have the skilled workforce that they need, and over half say will need to retrain their staff to survive.

These are the findings of a recent research report published by the Association of Colleges (AoC). The study also reports:

  • more than two in five SMEs (44%) say that the skills gap in their sector is likely to increase because of threats such as COVID-19
  • almost one in two (45%) believe that it will become even more difficult to hire people with the right skills once the Brexit transition period has ended, and that the country’s skills gap will only get worse (44%)
  • 54% believe that they are going to need to train their workforce to adapt to the opportunities and threats thrown up by the virus
  • seven in 10 (71%) SMEs believe colleges are important to business for training and retraining staff
  • as a business, 39% say they would look to train, retrain or upskill their employees through colleges, compared to 21% who would turn to a university or 13% online courses. A further 44% believe colleges are best placed to skill their future workforce, compared to universities (22%) and schools (21%).

Northern College is the only residential college in Yorkshire specifically designed for adults. The college supports adults to re-enter education to realise their full potential to progress, gain employment or retrain for a new career.

The college recognises that the demands of the modern UK workplace and the current economic crisis mean that adult learning is increasingly crucial for people of all ages regardless of their level of skills and qualifications. Therefore, it also works with businesses to meet their skills gaps, to help grow the economy. This increases employment opportunities for its adult students too.

Yultan Mellor, Principal & Chief Executive, explains: “Our ultimate goal is to transform lives through adult education, so everyone has the same equal opportunity to progress, gain employment or retrain for a new career. We build on adults’ life skills and experience; you don’t need any formal qualifications to begin your studies with us and be successful. This is through a unique offer of flexible learning on a residential or non-residential basis, alongside online tutor-led study at home.

“But we are here for businesses too. We are committed to supporting the Sheffield City Region Renewal Action Plan (RAP) through our work to support businesses to adapt and thrive, whilst helping adults to upskill for employment and progression too. For example, we’ve already reshaped our digital curriculum based on employer needs, to provide courses such as Cloud Computing and Microsoft Teams. We also continue to work closely with Barnsley’s More and Better Jobs Task Force, with whom we’ve worked to identify the key priority competencies employers want, based on an assessment of their needs.

“Our ultimate goal is to inspire positive change through adult education, whilst playing a lead role in jobs-based recovery programmes across the region.

Complete the Northern College employer and business skills survey https://tinyurl.com/yywd446c

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