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Bridging the skills gap with imagination


 UK businesses are facing a long term labour shortage. Current employer data suggests that there will be 13.5 million job vacancies over the next 10 years, with only seven million young people leaving schools and colleges. How do employers fill the gaps and will apprenticeships alone solve the problem? Here James Blackhurst, managing director of Jigsaw Training, examines the issues.

The government’s commitment to apprenticeships has enabled a rapid increase in vocational learning opportunities which will certainly go a long way towards bridging the fast developing skills gap. Apprenticeships are expected to contribute £3.4 billion a year to the economy over the next 10 years and are a key means of creating a skilled and motivated workforce.

Although initially slow to take off, organisations of all sizes now see the benefits that apprentices bring, including increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed and competent workforce in a cost-effective manner. And at a time where UK businesses consider skills shortages and recruitment difficulties a bigger threat to performance than soaring oil prices and declining consumer spending, apprenticeships are vitally important.

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Training scheme leads to promotions


Seventeen facilities managers from MITIE across the UK have passed their level 3 qualification – and some have been promoted.

All 17 candidates passed the course and some received promotions from MITIE as a result of the experience and knowledge gained from the training, run through Jigsaw Training in partnership with MITIE.

The year-long course, covered the key aspects of facilities management including financial, environment, HR, audit, accounts and management areas.

It included a number of rigorous assessments and students were expected to demonstrate that theory learnt in the classroom was being put into practice.

Candidates, who held varying roles within facilities management at different locations across the UK, met with Jigsaw Training tutors once a month and had ongoing support throughout the course, and also benefitted from mentoring by senior facilities managers at MITIE.

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