21 April 2016 11:00
Latest labour market figures reflected in Somerset businesses
The UK labour market figures published on 20th April by the ONS showed that in the three months to February 2016, employment rose by 20,000, but unemployment also rose by 21,000.
Responding to these figures, Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said this employment issue is one that is widely felt in Somerset.
“The overriding topic of conversation when speaking to Somerset business owners and leaders across a wide variety of sectors is that they are struggling to find the right people to take advantage of the opportunities available. This correlates with the fact that Somerset has a lower unemployment rate than the national average.
“I am aware that there are some local businesses offering exceptionally attractive apprenticeship opportunities but struggling to find candidates to interview, which is a major concern in terms of the development of local talent for the future. This is one of the many reasons why the Somerset Chamber is focusing on bridging the gap between businesses and educational establishments in the county.
“With significant national infrastructure projects on the horizon such as Hinkley Point C, HS2 and Cross Rail, the availability of skilled personnel will not only be a challenge in the locality but also nationally. It is vital that businesses, schools and colleges work closer together in order to develop the skills needed to meet the demands of our local economy.”
The Somerset Chamber of Commerce represents and works collaboratively with the Somerset business community to encourage strong, sustainable and creative alliances that promote members’ businesses, raise the profile of the county, and help to lobby for greater influence for Somerset at all levels of government.
To find out more about the Chamber’s Bridging the Gap initiative, visit www.somerset-chamber.co.uk/skills/bridging-the-gap.htm