Island-wide survey aims to identify skills gaps and shortages

| July 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
Dr Elaine Monkhouse

AN ISLAND-WIDE telephone survey aimed at identifying the mismatch between the skills that employees have and those that are needed, now and in the future, starts next week.

Skills Guernsey, a public private partnership tasked with developing and implementing a skills strategy for the island, is carrying out the analysis to understand in detail the skills gaps that may exist locally.

‘We need local businesses to help with this survey so we can get useful information from across the various different areas of business in Guernsey,’ said Commerce & Employment minister Kevin Stewart.

‘There are many highly-skilled people working in Guernsey, which is vital to our economic success, but we cannot take this for granted so it’s important that we work with businesses in Guernsey to understand from employers what they consider to be the skills that people working for them will need to have both now and in the future.’

Deputy Stewart added that the findings of this telephone survey of employers and self-employed individuals from all industry sectors will have several uses.

‘We will be able to identify where, as an Island, we lack certain skills, so that we can work out how to ensure that the right training is available in order to plug these gaps.’

Skills Guernsey is a partnership between business members from large and small local businesses, individuals with skills-related experience, training providers, community representatives and States departments.

Chaired by Dr Elaine Monkhouse, it has responsibility for ensuring that strategy and policy for skills and participation in the workforce takes account of, and is allied to, the broader aims for education, social cohesion and economic development expressed in departmental strategies and plans, and the wider States Strategic Plan. Its main aims are to improve the skills of the working population, in line with the needs of employers in all sectors and to increase workforce participation.

This confidential survey, which is expected to take around 15 to 20 minutes, will be conducted by telephone and respondents can opt to give their contact details which will allow Skills Guernsey to follow up any specific queries and run focus groups to validate the findings.  While the survey will only be able to reach a representative sample of local businesses, there will be opportunities to participate in the study. Anyone wishing to get involved should contact Skills Guernsey.

‘Our aim is have the final report on the findings ready by the end of September and then work with industry bodies, the States and training providers to come up with the solutions,’ said Dr Monkhouse.

‘This will form the benchmark for future proposals and we aim to repeat it every three to four years to ensure that the strategy we are working to continues to meet the needs of local businesses and people.’

Patrick Firth, deputy chairman of GIBA, said the survey was essential if a diversified economy was a priority.

‘There has been considerable debate about the island’s dependence on the finance industry and while we accept that the financial service sector is dominant, GIBA fully appreciates that the island has a very diverse business community,’ he said.

‘We need to support embryonic sectors so that they can grow and make an increasing contribution to the economy and the most important way of ensuring that happens is to provide them with employees with the right skills. This survey will allow Skills Guernsey to identify the gaps and prioritise what sectors need educational support and we would encourage all island businesses to support it.’

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