The lead partner at one of Birmingham’s top five accountancy firms has warned that adopting a short-term view for education and training will leave the region ill-equipped for the future.
The comments from Mark Anslow, of BDO Stoy Hayward, are in response to recent research that Midlands’ business leaders believe closer working between industry and education is vital in addressing the region’s skills shortage and weathering the current economic climate.
The annual ‘Midlands Matters’ Report, commissioned by BDO Stoy Hayward, polls the opinions of financial directors, managing directors and chief execs from top Midlands firms on current business issues and how they directly affect Midlands companies.
Mr Anslow said: “Forty three per cent of respondents felt that there was a skills shortage in either the Midlands or their specific sector, which highlights a real issue for the region’s businesses.
“When asked what the possible reasons were for this shortage, feedback commonly referred to education and training as the key issues, with 40 per cent and 35 per cent of respondents stating a lack of quality education and insufficient investment in training, respectively, as the reasons for this shortage.”
The ‘Midlands Matters’ Report also polled business leaders on what measures they felt would best address the skills shortage in the region with just over a fifth (21 per cent) identifying the need to encourage closer working relationships between industry and education as most important.
Professor Helen Higson, at Aston Business School, welcomed the findings.
She said: “Strong working relationships between educational establishments and industry are vital to ensuring individuals have the right skills for current and future business needs.
“We have a strong commitment to achieving this with our well established graduate placement programme that works with FTSE 100 companies to ensure every student gains a year in industry as part of their degree.”
“It should be noted, however, that the need to forge these links and work together lies not just with government and education.
It is a policy that should be actively adopted by both industry and educational establishments, those who will ultimately benefit.”