Employers in the North West are warning of a looming skills crisis, according to a report from The Prince’s Trust and Govia Thameslink Railway.

The YouGov poll, which surveyed young people in Greater Manchester and employers across the North West, suggests that local businesses expect skills shortages to worsen, with nearly five in ten in the North West saying they believe it’s only going to get harder to recruit employees with the right skills for their organisation .

According to the report, Futures at Stake 2020, more than a third of employers across the North West believe that traditional or outdated recruitment practices are perpetuating skills shortages , with a similar figure agreeing that traditional recruitment practices are no longer working and that they need to be more innovative .

Most local employers believe recruiting young people under the age of 25 is vital to avert a skills crisis in their sector and that it is more effective to focus on personal values rather than purely on academic achievements when it comes to recruiting for entry-level jobs

For young people aged 16 to 30 in Greater Manchester, just under half who have applied for jobs feel they have missed out on roles because they were not given a fair chance to show their skills properly . Just over seven in ten local 16 to 30 year olds say that employers rarely give them helpful feedback when they’ve been unsuccessful in applying for a role and 78 per cent believe employers need to be more transparent in their recruitment processes.

Nearly half of all employers in the North West say they would be interested in recruiting applicants by working with an external training provider to provide work experience and training .

Andrew Farhan, 22, originally from Bury and living in Cheadle, was struggling to find employment and was lacking in self-belief and confidence.

“I struggled to put together job applications, as it’s hard to know what to do when you are new to the world of work and haven’t had guidance. I also needed practice at interviews to learn how to answer questions in the best possible way. I decided to reach out to The Trust for support”.

Keen to gain employability skills, Andrew joined the Team programme, where he was able to work on his CV and take part in mock interviews. He also did work experience.

Andrew’s next goal was to gain sustainable and paid employment. He joined the Get into Retail three-week programme with House of Fraser in central Manchester.

The programme involved Andrew working on the tills, sorting through and processing deliveries, and developing key customer skills through answering shoppers’ queries.

“At the end of the programme I was offered a job with them after a short interview. I couldn’t believe it – I was so happy I had finally found employment. It shows that when employers give young people a chance to show what they have to offer, rather than judging people on paper, they get a better view of their potential.”

Clare Crabb, North Regional Director at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Young people are key to solving current skills shortages and avoiding a future skills crisis. However, some employers use recruitment processes that make it hard for them to fill vacancies, as well as making it hard for young people to get their first job. This has to change in order to see young people excelling in the workplace and employers filling skills gaps in their sector.

“At The Prince’s Trust, we work with teachers and employers across Greater Manchester, helping to bridge the gap between school and the workplace and upskilling young people for the jobs of the future.

“We also provide Greater Manchester employers with innovative methods of recruitment, such as our short pre-employment courses for young people, and we are relentless in our efforts to ensure all young people have the tools they need to start their career.”

To support young people the youth charity runs a number of employability programmes across the UK, which helps young people aged between 16 and 30 to get ‘on the job’ experience and training through its Get into programmes.


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