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Viewpoint: Ideal time to train new generation as Brexit and Covid-19 impact hits recruitment




By Peter Lawrence, Human Capital Department

Local firms are finding it difficult to recruit experienced workers at the moment.

A haulage firm can’t find drivers; a carpentry and joinery firm in Massingham is struggling to find fitters and cabinet makers, while a hotelier on the North Norfolk Coast cannot find staff for his hospitality business and a food processing business struggles to recruit and retain pickers and packers.

This story seems to be being reported throughout the country.

Peter Lawrence of Human Capital Department (50093415)
Peter Lawrence of Human Capital Department (50093415)

Brexit and Covid-19 have created a ‘perfect storm’ with many European workers unable or unwilling to return the UK.

Some workers remain on Furlough [although the scheme finally ends at the end of this month].

It is thought that some older workers have decided not to return to work with the pandemic causing them to re-evaluate work-life balance.

Changes to IR35 rules have made some types of work less attractive where previously people were regarded as self-employed [IR35] now HMRC are requiring them to be PAYE employees making work in haulage, for example, much less attractive.

At the same time many young people are choosing to stay on in education and recent school college and university leavers are struggling to find work.

Kickstart Trainee Marketing Officer Max Aleko (51058672)
Kickstart Trainee Marketing Officer Max Aleko (51058672)

Employers are now calling for temporary visas to be issued to EU workers in shortage areas such as the food and drink industry – this might alleviate the crisis.

However, a longer term and more sustainable solution is for employers to invest in training and development. Something we have never been good at in the UK.

Employers can take advantage of schemes such as Kickstart which provides a government funded young person for up to six months. Intended to help young people between 16 and 24 years old who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

This scheme is open until the end of this year and administered by the DWP Jobcentre+.

Apprenticeships are a well-established route to gaining skills and experience and now open to all age groups up to management level. Grants of up to £5,000 are available to employers taking on an apprentice to support an individual’s training.

Some firms prefer not to offer formal training programmes, but are able to be flexible and ready to take on people that may not tick all the boxes, for example, years of experience or formal qualifications.

In this case we recommend having a Personal Development Plan in place to ensure that learning opportunities are utilised.

The firms unable or unwilling to support employees and offer some sort of career development and progression will be the same employers complaining that they ‘can’t get the staff.’

For help with any of the issues raised in this article please contact me at Human Capital Department Ltd.



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