Employers are increasingly conscious that the skills of their employees are the life blood of their business.
Fail to refresh and review that core bank of expertise and vital systems soon run more slowly; the connections between direction, performance and output become looser.
Crucially, rivals become stronger and gain a competitive edge.
But despite a growing awareness that nothing short of a skills revolution will do, many employers have not yet shown a commitment to the cause.
Nationally, one third of employers do not train their staff. Eight million employees go without training every year. Despite improvements in recent years, UK productivity lags behind that of key competitors — output per hour worked is 20 per cent higher in France, 13 per cent higher in Germany and 18 per cent higher in the USA.
Here in the West Midlands, we have unique challenges and opportunities.
As the heavy industries which have represented the backbone of our economy for generations have declined, a legacy of low skills has remained.
Meanwhile, we have seen opportunities grow in service and professional sectors, where employers need higher level skills.
Much work is under way to create joined-up approaches to giving the right people the right skills to take full advantage of new economic opportunities. That means careful co-ordination between agencies to help those people who face barriers to skills and employment.
And it means broadening the recruitment base so that employers can tap into seams of talent and skill equally in all geographical and demographic sections of our region.
Whatever the size of the business you work in, from multinational plc to the smallest start-up, there has never been more help available to train your employees. And here’s the good news – it has never been easier to access.
By making the Learning and Skills Council Skills Pledge, you will be offering a public commitment to partners, customers and employees that skills development will be at the heart of your business plan and you will be accessing a wealth of expertise through the national Train to Gain skills service.
Call the West Midlands skills hotline on 08000 754557 or visit traintogain.gov.uk to find out how you can offer your business a skills injection.