Dec 2023 / Blog

Managing Director at ACT, Richard Spear, explains how businesses can beat the UK’s hiring lull by investing in their existing staff

Upskilling is a hot topic for any business leader at the moment. Anyone in a hiring position will know the current struggle of finding the right talent in an increasingly competitive market.

And if you’re feeling that the talent pool is shrinking, you’re not alone. An alarming report recently published by the CIPD shows skills shortages have more than doubled in Wales from 9,000 in 2017 to 20,600 in 2022. At the same time, more than a third of job vacancies were deemed ‘hard to fill’ owing to the quality of applicants and a lack of necessary skills.

It comes as no surprise then that businesses are looking to their existing workforce instead, upskilling their teams to help bridge this widening skills gap.

Development and upskilling consistently places in the most sought-after workplace ‘benefits’ for potential employees, with LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends data finding that companies that help their employees build skills have a higher internal mobility rate than those who did not prioritise development. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that two thirds of employers are investing in training to upskill their current workforce.

Upskilling is beneficial for both business and individual, as well as the wider workforce. It provides the opportunity to learn new, highly desirable and transferable skills that then mean that companies obtain and retain staff with up-to-date knowledge relating to their role.

Upskilling also offers the chance to fully customise a role to your business needs, showing that you believe an employee is worth investing in and are supporting them in their future aspirations and career progression. Upskilling may seem like a daunting investment, but it shouldn’t be. At ACT, as Wales’ leading training provider, we have worked with more than 14,000 businesses across the country supporting them and their staff with their work-based learning needs, including apprenticeships.

Courses range from digital marketing and customer service to accountancy and facilities management, and many more. They are suitable for employees beginning their journey in a specific role as well as senior staff looking to boost their skillset.

Qualifications are fully funded by the Welsh Government and offer flexible learning in at the workplace, in workshops and online.

While it is a common misconception that apprenticeships are for specific – often manual – jobs, and for those just starting out in their career, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Apprenticeships are undertaken at any age, in any sector and by employees with all different levels of experience.

Apprenticeships can be delivered flexibly to the needs of the sector, business and learner – whether upskilling someone already in a role or offering an apprenticeship as an entry point into your organisation.

Coursework can be completed around a project that the learner is looking to implement within their company, showcasing what must be done and the action plan needed to do it.

Upskilling is rapidly become not just a ‘nice to offer’ perk of the job but an essential factor not just for job seekers but for businesses who are investing in their own growth as well as their employees’. You can find out more about how work-based learning can work for you by dropping us a line here.