Every meeting, visit and discussion that we have with businesses in Cornwall highlights that they face skills gaps in their current workforce as well as recruitment issues, particularly in managerial and technical occupations. Not only does this impact ‘business as usual’ but it also affects growth, productivity and innovation.

So just how can Cornish businesses ensure that their skill demands can be met now and in the future?

The answer is in five simple steps:

1. Upskill your current staff

To meet the future skills needs of your business and improve the skills of your workforce, you don’t have to hire new talent. By analysing your current staff skill set you may discover that you have all the knowledge and expertise that you need, it just wasn’t being utilised.

Another option is to up skill your staff. Industry changes quickly and regularly, and the skills of your workforce may now be out of date.

2. Include apprenticeships and traineeships in your recruitment strategy

Apprentices can reduce training and recruitment costs, increase productivity and enable you to develop and create a workforce with skills and knowledge specific to your business. There is a wealth of funding and support available to assist you with taking on an apprentice.

3. Broaden your skills selection, don’t just hire graduates

By only hiring graduates or recruiting from within, you significantly limit the skills available to your business. There are people in the local community with relevant, transferrable skills that you may have overlooked in the past. With a little training these people can bring a new perspective and a breadth of experience to your business.

4. Make sure you have the right leadership, management and mentoring in place

Great skills rely on great people. Making sure that your leadership team – even if it you are the only one – have the right skills to get the best out of your staff is an essential part of the process.

5. Keep your future workforce informed and inspired

If your future workforce doesn’t know about your industry, they won’t want to work for you. It is crucial that young people, parents and education are aware of the opportunities available and working with local schools, Colleges and Universities can help you in future recruitment.

Identify the future skills gaps for your business and work proactively to ensure that your business is skilled, motivated and prepared for growth. 

Sounds great but not sure where to start? The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Skills Hub is here to help. It all starts with a Skills Review.

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Written by: Mel Colton-Dyer
Mel is Chief Operating Officer of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, delivery partner of the Skills Hub.