PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
SKILLS ARE ONE OF THE KEY DRIVERS FOR GROWTH AND PRODUCTIVITY
Even in a pre-COVID-19 business landscape, the Black Country, and the West Midlands, frequently fared more poorly against key measures and indicators.
As businesses begin to find some level of ‘normality’ within the context of what has proved to be an exceptional year (even without the added complication of the end of the Brexit Transition period to content with); they once again find themselves looking to their people, the roles their employees carry out and how to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and capabilities to respond to be a success in a challenging training environment and not miss out or lose talented individuals.
For some businesses, they will look to entrench or consolidate, make savings on hires or cut back on training budgets, others will look to invest in new recruits and upskilling – both are perfectly naturally and acceptable responses and should be driven by the business plan and the ability to build both resilience into their firms and prime them to embrace opportunities which might lie ahead. Many more will be taking a more balanced approach whilst attempting to prioritise immediate needs against more long-term strategies.
Whatever approach businesses are taking, they do it within the context of a marketplace radically different from one just two years ago, a new nervousness about operating in, and living with the personal and economic threats of COVID-19, a new intake of employees, trainees, apprentices or students whose dreams and ambitions are clouded with the prospect that their accomplishments are not fully validated; all against the backdrop of a skills agenda which has often failed to deliver for businesses or individuals.
As a business community we must champion what works well and, as a Chamber, you can rely on us to call out and lobby for improvements when things fall short.
Right now though, the urgent call to action is to ensure that at every level of our organisations, we have individuals who are skilled and enabled, feel positive and enthused to respond to turbulent times and are empowered and ready to drive your business plan forward.
Whether it is that fresh-faced, slightly bewildered individual leaver of education as part of the ‘Class of COVID-19’ or a seasoned veteran who has been a loyal and dedicated member of your team for years, as businesses we need to ensure that we have the right employees in place, that skillsets are optimised or being grown, that training doesn’t take a backseat and that we have the necessary systems and processes in place to grow all of our people.
Chief Executive Officer
Black Country Chamber of Commerce