Bucks Skills Hub Labour Market Intelligence Update

Professor Brendan Walker at the Bucks Skills ShowMoving into a new year is a useful time to revisit priorities and think about actions in the coming year.

One of the Chamber’s priorities is to encourage the development of skills and young people in the region, to ensure that the workforce is in place for sustainable economic growth in the area.

In 2016 this has included working with Bucks Skills Hub, including encouraging our members to participate in work experience programmes, and sponsoring Professor Brendan Walker to speak at the inaugural Bucks Skills Show (right).

Bucks Skills Hub has published an extremely useful guide to labour market conditions in Buckinghamshire, the Labour Market Intelligence Update. This has the strapline: “Let’s work together to prepare young people for their career choices and help them to develop skills for the workplace.”

It lists key industry sector priorities for growth in Buckinghamshire as follows:

  • Engineering and IT : skills shortages particularly acute in technological occupations.
  • Social Care : acute shortfall of care workers predicted by 2020
  • Service Sector : the service-based economy continues to grow, led by business services, tourism, retail, food and drink.
  • Creating opportunity through industrial strategy : for example, the new Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, covering three key specialist engines for growth – motorsport and high performance engineering; space propulsion and agri-food/health; and specialist creative industries facilities like Pinewood Studios and the National Film & Television School.

cover of bucks skills hub labour market reportGood News : Buckinghamshire is the third-most productive place in the UK behind only London and Berkshire. Gross Value Added (GVA) per hour worked is almost 20% above the national level, and productivity continues to grow faster than the national level.

Bad News : However, one in three Bucks employers stated that 17-18 year olds recruited to first time jobs were “poorly” or “very poorly” prepared for work, mainly due to a lack of work experience or skills and competencies required for the job. Skills gaps were reported in particular in the areas of:

  • Technical, practical or job specific skills;
  • Oral communication;
  • Problem solving skills;
  • Planning and organisation skills;
  • Written communication

It’s important to ensure that young people are supported to make good decisions about their future career. While teachers are experts in qualifications, businesses know what skills and behaviours they are looking for from young people, which is why businesses need to get involved by delivering careers talks, skills workshops and work experience.

That’s why the Chamber works with a number of schools, Bucks Skills Hub and Young Enterprise. We shall seek to make further useful contributions in 2017.

You can download the report here.