How do we solve the Catch 22 of Skills?

Employers are frustrated that young people emerging from education don’t have the skills they are looking for. Young people emerging from education are keen to work but can’t get jobs because they don’t have the skills employers are looking for. A classic Catch 22 conundrum – how do we fix this?

Last month the IET published a skills survey that was launched at a joint event with Student Energy, who were presenting a report of their own on young people entering the energy transition labour market. The lively debate that took place is available to view. The organisations spoke respectively to employers and students both groups expressing a clear desire for more and better training to help bridge the gap between formal education and employment, and for career progression into new roles or to cover new responsibilities.  

Apprenticeships, graduate programmes, and internships are a great way to receive practical training, but these programmes are only available to a minority, and often those working for larger organisation.

How do we find different ways to bridge this gap? Could accessible online learning be an acceptable alternative that employers would consider? Perhaps young engineers already have the skills, but they are not presenting them in the right way because they don’t know how?

If engineers can’t find a solution to this, I don’t know who can – what are your thoughts?

  • Where is the ifATE in all this?

    We have this quango who is supposed to drive this agenda. Then we have sector skills bodies who all claim to be dealing with this skills gap. In my industry we have three overlapping skills bodies.

    No wonder companies think its so confusing!

    The Levy has not made anywhere near the impact it should have. Effectively a company stealth tax which will only get bigger.

    Trailblazers combined with route panels under the ifATE, make the process of developing technical education so complicated and then to top it off occupational route sign off, why would any company really get involved to develop something they really need with all these "barriers".

    Have a look at occupational maps, I'm not sure who put them together but for some sectors they make no sense, even the new ones.

    The whole system is against most if not all employers with absolutely no agility.

    My particular discipline is suffering massively due to the current setup we are stuck with a level 3 which is years out of date, a level 4 that is too niche and a level 7 that couldn't get off the ground due to complexity.

    Things need to change but I have no idea with all the organisations there are who can actually make any difference and this is the really frustrating part!!

  • Yes, it is hugely complex and hugely frustrating. It's no wonder people just give up trying!

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