The Confederation of British Industry has come up with a possible solution to the skills shortage currently holding UK businesses in its viselike grip.
While the short-term benefit of the skills shortage has been to provide better work opportunities for umbrella company contractors and freelancers, it’s dangerous in the long term. Some researchers say that the lack of skilled and qualified workers accounts for 1 out of every 5 vacancies now in existence, and interim workers can only fill this gap for so long; indeed, the ramifications of a long-term skills shortage could very well lead to the collapse of the already tenuous economic recovery.
The CBI’s answer to the problem, at least as far as the trade industry body’s concerned, is to provide better access to the so-called STEM careers – science, technology, engineering and maths. That means making it less expensive for students to take these stem courses by slashing tuition fees for specifically targeted sources. Lowering university costs would encourage more students to delve into this field, and the knock-on effect of a new influx of graduates with the skills needed to undertake careers in these specific industries could easily shore up the flagging recovery efforts.
For what it’s worth, this is exactly the kind of initiative I could get behind. In fact I’ve even said so countless times that unless something is done to improve the education for our emerging generations of British workers there’s little we’re going to be able to do that will help us withstand the withering effect of the skills shortage. At this point, the Government would have to be completely daft to not take the CBI’s suggestions and positively run with them. Yes it might cost a pretty penny to subsidise the cost of so many university courses but let’s be honest here – there’s little else that I think would be nearly as effective, and certainly not as cost effective. A bit of an investment to be sure, but the alternative being what it is I’d much rather go this route than any others.
And what is that alternative route? Well what happens when British workers can no longer satisfy demands of local industries? Either those industries stagnate by not being able to grow – possibly shuttering their doors – or have no choice but to outsource jobs overseas, depriving Brits of the opportunity to make a living. It’s a classic ‘no-win’ scenario, and if you ask me it’s to be avoided at all costs!