Chambers unveil plan to tackle skills mismatch

By Anita Jaynes on September 09, 2015

To coincide with the start of the new school term, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has unveiled an ambitious plan to put thousands of young people in England directly in touch with local businesses, to improve the quality of careers advice they receive.

The Chambers of Commerce network, which covers the whole of the country, will run 250 career events, bringing together thousands of pupils, businesses, schools, colleges and training providers in order to address this issue and improve young people’s prospects for a successful career. The ‘Your Future’ programme of career events, supported by the Skills Funding Agency, will give 70,000 young people access to potential employers, showcasing the range of career options open to them.

The programme will launch at the end of September 2015, to coincide with the new academic term, and will run until March 2016.

Commenting on the ‘your future’ programme, Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, said: “This announcement is a massive step forward in tackling a problem that is hurting firms day in day out. Businesses can only perform as well as the people that start, run and work in them and we need a quality pipeline of work ready young talent. Young unemployment remains stubbornly high and way above pre-recessional levels, but it still seems to be somewhat under the radar. Today’s news of a national programme of 250 events across the country will put the issue of the front of people’s minds and make a real difference to both young people and businesses.”

“Here in the South West we constantly hear cries from local firms about skills shortages, with our latest local business survey finding that 62% of firms that recruited found difficulties finding suitably skilled staff. Research last year also told us that a low percentage of businesses believe that school and college leavers are well prepared for work. The issue is clear to see, we need to strengthen the link between business and education to tackle this fundamental weakness in the economy.

“The ‘Your Future’ initiative helps bridge this gap, putting together a programme that breaks down barriers between employers and pupils to match demand with supply. By connecting the employees of tomorrow with local businesses, we are helping each to improve their understanding of the other. Starting alongside the new academic year at then end of September, this is a win-win scenario.”

For information on ‘Your Future’ events coming up in the South West, please contact Phil Bridgeman in the Business West membership team on phil.bridgeman@businesswest.co.uk or 01275 370 807

Pictured above: Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West