Manufacturers are victims of their own skills downfall say young managers

1 min read

A failure to invest in up and coming talent has left manufacturers complicit in creating skills shortages, young site managers have claimed.

Site bosses were forcing young people to walk away from manufacturing by refusing to recruit more apprentices and graduates, according to WM's straw poll of 20 and 30-something managers. Just over half cited a lack of desire to hire young talent as the single most damaging thing senior manufacturers could do to deter young people. The findings challenge the established industry view that skills shortages are wrought by external factors including an anti-engineering bias in schools and public misconceptions of manufacturing as dirty and poorly-paid. The call for factories to get behind young talent was echoed by business leaders. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) marked National Apprenticeship Week this March by urging firms to increase apprentice intakes to meet growing demand for places. The organisation also called on the government to help by extending financial incentives for businesses who took talent on. Measures should include a £1,000 time-limited payment for firms who hire a 16-24 year old this year, the BCC said. Demand for apprenticeships outstrips supply by around 12:1 according to the BCC. Meanwhile nearly 70% of manufacturing firms reported skill shortages in WM's 2013 People & Productivity survey. Young people who had secured jobs within manufacturing reported glowing morale in WM Young Managers survey. Over 75% claimed high or extremely high job satisfaction and 97% said they would recommend a career in the sector to a 14-18 year-old. "I get up everyday to do something that I love. No two days are ever the same," one survey respondent said. Thirty eight manufacturing managers and engineers between the age of 18 and 40 completed the research. The skills divide by numbers - 917,000 young people unemployed in the UK - 75% of manufacturing firms reporting core skill shortages - 90% of SMEs don't recruit an apprentice - 12:1 ratio of demand for apprenticeship places compared with demand