Skills and employability

Skills and employability are a hot topic of debate, not only in Nottingham but also across the wider UK.

As the economic recovery gathers pace, businesses need to hire additional staff and often find this difficult and frustrating.

Having run my own recruitment business for 5 years, I’ve sat between employer and jobseeker on numerous occasions where skills and employability are critical to the success of any interview process.

For me, having the right skills is a workforce ready to go with the right academic or practical abilities to perform the tasks required by employers.

Employability on the other hand, comprises communication ability including being dressed correctly, a firm handshake and speaking clearly and coherently about existing experience or an appetite to gain experience.

I think there is an increasing place for business to get more involved with our education establishments, to influence the skills that our young people leave school or graduate with.

I’ve been really impressed with the work of NCN (New College Nottingham) through 3E Autos (a car dealership where students train alongside professionals) and the Adams Restaurant – bringing work opportunities directly into this educational establishment. This kind of initiative I feel is a successful template to be replicated across the region and beyond.

Another key, but often overlooked factor is giving our young people the belief that whatever profession or passion they choose to follow is entirely possible, if they take positive action in the right direction. Cultural change and working with parents through a business focused Board of Governors are positive steps in this direction.

On a final note, I attended the ‘Rebalancing Nottingham North Conference’ a few weeks ago and was encouraged by the energy of business leaders, political figures and public sector bodies to collaborate in making significant changes for the benefit of all.

By Simon Gray, Interest Group Chair for Skills.