Mind the Gap - Supporting Lancashire’s SME’s to fill skill gaps

Johanne Agnola, project officer on the UpSkilling Lancashire project at the University of Central Lancashire says

UpSkilling Lancashire tackles the skill gap conundrum in Lancashire’s SMEs by identifying those skill gaps and prioritising learning needs

The real impact of skill gaps

It’s widely known that skills shortages and skills gaps are a real dilemma for SMEs.

Businesses with significant growth potential are seeing productivity rates fall due to a lack of the right skills in the business, or business owners not recognising the importance of developing its employees.  With this skill shortage ultimately influencing the local economy, it’s a relief to know that there is provision to support these businesses when they need it the most.   

Finding support to fill the gaps

UpSkilling Lancashire is a project part funded by the European Social Fund. The aim of the project is to increase the skills and capabilities of employees, enabling businesses to compete regionally, nationally and internationally.

The team assists businesses to identify skill gaps and develop the talent required for SMEs in Lancashire to grow.

Once those skills gaps have been identified, the team are able to suggest pathways to training courses and programmes.

Johanne Agnola
Johanne Agnola

Why upskill your employees?

The better your employees are at their job, the more successful your business will be. It really is that simple. People that feel valued are likely to be more productive, more effective, more engaged and will consistently go above and beyond to support your business.

Your business will be better prepared for any challenges it might face, particularly as we approach uncertain economic times.

You are likely to have a competitive edge over similar companies which is particularly important if you are looking for new clients or expansion.

Supporting business growth

Growth and expansion happen as a direct result of several key factors.  One of those is knowing what skills your business needs and putting interventions in place to develop those skills.

Skills gaps can be a result of different circumstances. The creation of a new role, a change to an existing role, changes to the business structure or simply an acknowledgement that new skills are needed to effectively drive the business forward.

UpSkilling Lancashire can carry out a training needs analysis which is a constructive method to establish if the current skills in a business align with its objectives and future expansion. 

Recruiting and retaining employees

Research suggests that many businesses fall at the first hurdle when it comes to recruitment.

Strong development and career progression opportunities in a job advert are considered among the most compelling you can promote. If you recruit the right candidate, your odds on retaining them increases significantly. Some telling statistics confirm these points.

  • 51% of employees would quit their job if training wasn’t offered
  • 66% of UK workers have changed jobs because of a lack of training and development opportunities

               (Source: Udemy)

In today’s business world, it’s crucial to develop a positive reputation for being a company where people want to work.

Create a learning culture so it becomes embedded in everything you do, and the results will be worth it.

For more information about the UpSkilling Lancashire project please contact 01772 895500 or business@uclan.ac.uk


December 2019