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Skills shortages: Missing: basic skills.

Byline: Michelle Rushton

OF all the industry sectors questioned in a national survey, the health and social work sector has the highest number of job vacancies.

The National Employers Skills Survey (NESS), the largest survey of its kind, was commissioned in 2003 by the Learning Skills Council.

The survey revealed that 17% of the employers surveyed had vacancies -679,000 to be exact. Around 8% (271,000)of these vacancies were ``hard to fill'' and 4% (135,000) were vacant due to skills shortages.

Health care and social work had the highest number of vacancies (13.3%) of which ``hard to fill'' vacancies were 16.7%.

The highest rate of ``skill shortage'' vacancies (16.5%) was in the business services' sector, and low numbers of vacancies were recorded in manufacturing, despite some sections being in decline.

According to the Connexions Greater Merseyside, skill gaps occur when employers regard some of their staff as not being fully proficient to do their jobs.

In their latest Labour Market Newsletter, the company reported: ``In 2003, over one fifth (22%) of employers reported skill gaps. In total, 2.4memployees (11%of total employment) were regarded as not fully proficient.''

The highest incidences of perceived skills gaps were in the food and drink industry (46%), public administration and defence (35%), education (33%), and hotels and catering (31%),and the lowest incidence was in computing and related services (13%) Employers blamed lack of experience, motivation, not enough training, failure to adapt to change, recruitment problems and high staff turnover for skills shortages. They expressed a need for more interpersonal skills in their workforces -namely communication, customer handling, teamworking and problem-solving.

According to the Labour Market Newsletter, construction is the industry to be in. It said: ``The UK construction industry employs over 2mpeople in the UK,more than one in 14 of the workforce. There is very little unemployment in the industry and earnings in the industry are currently rising faster than the rate of inflation.''

Despite this the industry still has problems recruiting fully trained staff, according to the Employers Skill Needs Survey in autumn 2002.Apparently, 71% of construction industry employers in the North West and North East experienced difficulties.

Each year, the construction industry in the North West currently needs to recruit:O520 plumbers Large-scale public projects in the region include the construction of 17 new police stations across Greater Manchester and a proposed rapid transit system for Merseyside. There is also a project to build a large-scale waste management facility at Preston in the pipeline.

The industry predicts that in the future it will need more ICT staff and less employment on the building site, with increased use of standardised manufactured building components.

According to the Construction Skills Foresight Report 2003, the construction industry needs to shed its stereotypical white,male image in order to attract more suitable applications.

830 managers n 610 clerical staff n 590 professionals n 180 technicians n 1,260 into`wood trades' 490 bricklayers n 370 painters and decorators n 170 plasterers n 200 roofers n 160 floorers n160 glaziers n 160 other specialist building operatives n 120 scaffolders n n 80 plant mechanics/fitters n160 plant operatives 120 steel erectors (structural)410 other civilengineeringn 350 general operatives n n 700 electricians n
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 10, 2004
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