Employers investing in skills and technology - report

Employers are investing in new technology and apprentices to boost productivity, the annual In-Comm Training Barometer has found.

61 per cent of employers are still looking to take apprentices on over the next twelve months
61 per cent of employers are still looking to take apprentices on over the next twelve months - In-Comm

In total, 86 per cent of firms questioned in the report said that their spending intentions have remained unchanged, with over three quarters investing in new technology, which is an eight per cent rise on last year’s findings.

The survey of 113 bosses also reveals that 61 per cent are planning to take on an apprentice over the next twelve months, with 84 per cent taking this decision to develop future engineering skills.

Despite this, 72 per cent believe that there isn’t enough national government support for training, with 44 per cent wanting better funding for apprenticeships and 39 per cent to boost upskilling.

“The last twelve months have been dominated by global pressures outside of industry’s control, with a cocktail of difficulties, ranging from supply chain disruption and conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, to far reaching political uncertainty and high inflation,” Gareth Jones, managing director of In-Comm Training said in a statement.

“With all these pressures in mind, we are pleasantly surprised that so many businesses have prioritised meeting their skills gaps over cutting budgets in the face of soaring prices.”

He continued: “In our opinion, this shows an overwhelming desire by our sector to support the development of apprentices and to address the burning issue of skills, making sure that a lack of talent - both now and in the future - is not a barrier to UK manufacturing making the most out of its recent resurgence.”

In 2023, the In-Comm Training Barometer reported that 28 per cent of manufacturers had enjoyed reshoring success, but  this has decreased to 18 per cent in 2024 with nearly half stating that they do not have the skills they need to make reshoring happen.

Jones said: “There is a big piece of work to be completed here; firstly, to understand what bringing work home looks like and then what support UK companies need to do to make this happen.

“This could be from the perspective of nearshoring their own supply chains or taking advantage of global customers looking to move work away from China, India, and volatile areas of the world.

“Skills and the whole productivity discussion will be so important here in deciding whether businesses actually want to battle for reshoring work or if it is actually easier to win work in domestic supply chains.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

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