Are you future workforce ready?

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Professionals shaking hands

Recently New Directions attended ‘A Wales that Works’ round-table event held by Business Insider in Swansea to discuss the hot topics of the current employment market, the anticipated skills shortages, and the future of recruitment.  Employers and a panel of experts shared ideas and opinions on the changing landscape with a big emphasis on the need for an agile workforce in many job roles that don’t even exist yet, and the importance of upskilling and reskilling existing staff. 

The panellists were:

  • Ian Price, Wales Director at the CBI business group, who spoke about the challenges businesses are facing in recruitment and how these might be overcome.
  • Vidette Swales, Human Resources Director at the Port of Milford Haven, which is one of the two Freeport sites anticipated to create a collective 20,000 jobs by 2030 (as recently announced by Welsh Government).
  • Iestyn Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
  • Lawrence Beach, Client Development Director of Acorn by Synergie, representing the recruitment industry. 

  Some of the questions and topics covered included the following: 

  1. What are the challenges businesses are facing in recruiting, and how they can be overcome? 

The panellists indicated that we’re in need of a more agile and adaptable workforce, where skills are transferable from profession to profession such as soft skills and critical thinking. Additionally, for employees to thrive in this uncertain environment, individuals need to maintain a positive attitude and behaviour.

  • What sort of staff and skills are employers looking for?  

To avoid any negative future impact on workplace productivity, there needs to be versatility and flexibility in regard to workplace learning and development. It was implied that businesses need to focus on investing in the improvement of our employees’ hard and soft skills sets. For example, the panellists implied that there is a shortage of IT, data and technology skills; this will hinder productivity in the workplace as new technologies emerge and look to be implemented. Soft skills such as interpersonal communications also need to be integrated in future workplace training and development schemes. These skills are important for positive workplace relationships, effective collaboration and agile continuous improvement or developments.

Having a responsive attitude is also critical when it comes to external initiatives or new legislation businesses must implement such as The Net Zero Skills plan[JL3] , which reflects on environmental issues and how businesses can look to do better.

  • What are the roles of Government, training agencies, education training providers and employers in building and developing a future-ready workforce? 

Panellists mentioned that there is a need for better collaboration between both private and public sectors due to both moving at different speeds. This is where training requirements and their delivery is essential to keep up. When building a future-ready workforce they reflected on the need for better funding to deliver effective training, as well as an approach that focuses on all skill sets and qualifications allowing for more flexibility, rather than just 3-year degree qualifications. An example of this are Personal Learning Accounts (PLA) which are completely free, government-funded training courses available to individuals already in employment that want to ‘top up’ their qualifications or change their career path altogether and enter a new field. Personal Learning Accounts might be a suitable option for employers who actively encourage continuous professional development amongst their staff and help their workforce diversify into areas of skills shortage.

At New Directions, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the ever-changing industry trends when consulting with our clients to assist in shaping future workforces, alongside mentoring prospective candidates in their search for great new roles with progressive employers.    

If you’re a candidate looking for your next move and want to start your job search or an employer with recruitment or training needs and would like to speak to one of our specialist consultants get in touch.