The skills shortage affecting many of the UK’s biggest industries has rarely been out of the headlines over the past few years, as organisations advertise for workers but find that the candidates they are presented with do not have the skills that match up to their expectations. According to an International Labour Organisation report, equipping the workforce with the right skills is a priority for G20 countries – the same priority should also apply for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) as well.
What should organisations be doing to prevent the ongoing skills shortage from worsening?
Last year, the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technology declared the UK’s current skills shortage to be the worst for more than three decades, with the union’s general secretary Steve Murphy commenting: “Skills shortages are a direct result of the industry failing to invest in the future. The entire mindset of the construction industry is focused on maximising short-term profits.”
Organisations need to be investing in learning and development in preparation for the future, with employees with the right skill set, mind set and knowledge directly and positively able to impact organisational growth. Analysis of the International Labour Organisation report carried out by McKinsey found that one of the major shortfalls of organisations is their failure to invest in learning and development to upskill their staff. As a result, they may be missing out on new business opportunities. Organisations need to invest time, money and resources in equipping their staff for the future now.
The analysis also suggested that small and medium-sized suppliers should take more responsibility for their own success – something they will be in a good position to do if their staff have the knowledge and skills clients are looking for. Additionally, research has shown that training makes employees six times more likely to classify their company as a great place to work.
What’s more, suppliers should not underestimate the importance of so-called ‘soft skills’, such as communication, as these are essential for effective collaboration with clients in order to complete projects to the highest standard possible.
At Achilles, we’ve recognised the need for supplier organisations to upskill their staff as the UK’s skills shortage wages on, and that’s why we developed our Achilles eLearning platform earlier this year.
The platform features a wide range of courses for both procurement practitioners and SMEs, providing businesses with the opportunity to improve their knowledge of procurement regulations and how the tendering process works to help them increase their chances of securing new contracts.
There are several advantages to eLearning, which include:
Being able to log in and out of the platform whenever you have the time, meaning you don’t need to lose a whole day of work to attend a special session
Dipping in out of different modules whenever you feel like you need to brush up your knowledge of a particular area
Learning at your own speed in your own time
Being able to go back over information after you’ve completed a module, making the platform a handy long-term resource
What’s more, research has shown that eLearning can reduce the challenges associated with more traditional forms of learning by between 25 and 55 per cent. These challenges can include the pressure of deadlines for completing module, as well as having to fit learning in around other professional commitments. Therefore, eLearning helps individuals to retain knowledge over the long term and allows them to learn at their own pace.
To find out more about upskilling your staff with help from Achilles, simply complete this form and a member of our team will be in touch.