The UK is facing a skills gap that is costing organisations billions of pounds, and the current economic uncertainty isn’t making the situation any easier.
According to the Open University’s 2018 Business Barometer, organisations spent £6.3 billion last year on temporary workers, recruitment fees, inflated salaries and training. because they couldn’t find the skills they needed in the UK labour market.
L&D plays a vital role in plugging the skills gap, with apprenticeships an important piece of the puzzle. They constitute a pipeline of skills and capabilities that your organisation will need both in the future and right now.
The Business Barometer report highlights how the “shifting business environment requires highly skilled workers with the ability to adapt to new environments that can help organisations to become agile and flexible in the face of future challenges”.
The shift to a hybrid workforce
What do we mean when we talk about the shifting business environment? We are transitioning to a fully tech-enabled workforce. A hybrid workforce in which humans work alongside technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation, and virtual reality.
As revealed by our research into the transition from a Human to Hybrid workforce, the skill sets required by all businesses are set to change dramatically over the next 5-10 years. Employers need to start planning for this new environment now.
What skills will their people need to fulfil their own potential and future-proof their organisations? What roles will human employees be filling if technology is able to automate lower level tasks? And what L&D provision must be made to ensure people are able to make their mark in a tech-enabled workplace?
Our research found that employees and business leaders in the UK are for the most part excited and optimistic about the prospect of a hybrid workforce. They can see clear benefits for both workers (having time to spend on higher-value creative and strategic work) and organisations (in terms of increased efficiency and having more human resource focused on tasks that add value to the business and drive profit).
Developing the skills of the future
Now is the time to start thinking about how to make the most of this opportunity. How can you find people who share your excitement and enthusiasm about the future? People in whom you can develop the high-level skills, knowledge, agility and resilience they will need to thrive in this new and demanding environment?
This is where the benefits of apprenticeships come into light. Whether taking the first steps along their career path or looking for a complete change of role, apprentices are enthusiastic, committed and productive. This is particularly significant with our research highlighting learner engagement as a key priority for L&D.
You will need to do some serious planning. The skills and qualifications your apprentices need may be totally different to those you currently offer or have done before. It’s also important to support your team, providing the understanding they need about the skills that will be pivotal to your business over the next decade.
This is where we can help you. Our apprenticeship experts can help you to gain clarity about the skills and abilities you’ll need in the future. And we’ll support you in the delivery of quality apprenticeship programmes to ensure they are there when you need them.
There’s no time like the present to start planning for the future!