Skills Gaps in Manchester

Productivity in the UK is lagging behind many other developed economies – we currently produce 30% less per hour than workers in USA, Germany and France, and 10% less per hour than Italy.

Outside London, Greater Manchester (GM) is home to the UK’s biggest concentration of businesses and jobs, yet it is punching below its weight in terms of productivity.

While the economy has grown, productivity and our skills base have not kept pace which means that investing in and developing workplace skills is key to addressing this skills challenge.

To thrive and survive in today’s fast-changing global economy, the Manchester workforce will need a different blend of skills and attributes than in the past.

Factors such as automation, digital innovation, artificial intelligence, new media, globalisation and longer working lives are now redefining the skills landscape and what skills are considered essential for future growth.

Low skill levels and skill utilisation

In GM there is a high volume of low skills and low volume of high skills, the opposite to what is needed for sustainable growth. Businesses must learn how to redesign roles where possible, and train managers to utilise and develop the skills of others.

Manchester’s growth and related skills demand has been driven by the rapid expansion of a number of leading industry sectors including business, professional and finance, creative, digital and tech, life sciences and healthcare.

Demand for higher level skills is rising across all sectors. The Greater Manchester Forecasting Model (GMFM) indicates that there is likely to be a total replacement demand of 921,000 jobs up to 2022 due to people retiring. Half of the new jobs are expected to require at least a Level 3 qualification.

The transition from education to work

The transition from school leavers into the workplace is vital to address the skills needs of the city, yet many businesses feel young people are not sufficiently prepared for the workplace on leaving the education system. Only 16% of employers offered Apprenticeships to school leavers over the past 12 months. This is why The Apprentice Academy offers apprentice and manager bootcamps to employers to make the transition easier for all.

Technological advances

Advances in technology will transform the workforce over the next 10 years; experts predict nearly 50% of today’s occupations will not exist by 2025. While this does not mean the world will need fewer workers in the future – it does mean that specialist skills will be more important.

Technological advances also make global markets more accessible. However, there is a real lack of knowledge and skill around how to access these markets. Only 11% of businesses in GM currently export compared to 22% in the UK. Leaders and managers must learn how to trade with these markets if GM is to succeed in a global economy.

Management and Leadership

Ineffective management is thought to be costing UK businesses over £19 billion/year, with 43% of managers rating their own line manager as ineffective., Yet managers play a critical role in organisational success. This is why the Apprentice Academy have developed two management programmes to help leaders and managers develop the skills they need for the future.

Developing skills for a 21st century workplace

The nature of jobs is changing and this new working world will require a new set of skills and competencies.
There will be greater demand for more highly qualified people – professional, technical and management – as high value, high skill jobs reshape the working landscape.

Top 10 skills 2020

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgement and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

Reference: ‘Future of Jobs Report’ by the World Economic Forum

The Solution

The Apprentice Academy designs, develop and deliver training programmes based on extensive research on topics and issues such as workforce skills gaps, future trends, 21st century skill requirements and how skills and attitudes help increase business productivity and prosperity for all.

We provide a holistic solution to both employers and individuals to meet future labour market needs, that is flexible enough to ensure learners enjoy the experience, learn new skills and utilise these skills in the workplace. The combined business services across our group include: diagnostics to understand company and individual needs, identifying growth inhibitors, designing and delivering apprenticeships and qualifications, coaching and mentoring individuals to increase performance and confidence, engaging with schools and students before they leave school and providing bespoke training solutions.


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