McInnes Apprentice Promise
The Highland region is currently experiencing its biggest skill shortage for a generation. From plumbers to engineers, I believe the talent gaps across a range of professions threaten to derail attempts to bolster the Scottish economy. The problem is not isolated to this area, but as a business we are feeling its effects.
We are currently recruiting for qualified plumbers and electricians to support our business growth, to no avail.
The scarcity of skills in key professions has big repercussions for all types of businesses, from large-scale projects being delayed, to employees demanding large pay packages; all of which hurts SMEs hardest.
I believe the root of the cause can be blamed on a catastrophic failure to train and invest in apprenticeships over the past decade. The government has sat up and taken some notice, rolling out its Modern Apprenticeship scheme, but it feels too little too late.
Migration is another problem, which affects the Highland region in large. We have a deficit of skilled people of working age, particularly age 15-39, due to the migration to bigger cities. Temptation by offshore work has been in the past another factor for SME’s, who have very often invested time and money into apprentices, only to lose them to big players in the north sea.
McInnes Plumbing is looking to the future and currently employs two apprentices. We would like to start a recruitment process to hire straight from schools or colleges. But we need skilled workers now.
To achieve economic growth – as a country we first have to possess the skills to do it. I would like to see the light shine firmly on the value apprenticeships in schools and colleges, for education is key to the prosperity of businesses in the future.