Government needs to train unemployed young people to fill the skills shortage blighting industry

Pimlico - Ashley Mullins

Pimlico – Ashley Mullins

Ashley Mullins, Assistant General Manager at Pimlico Plumbers recently provided this analysis to Business Leader, where he explains why the government need to help the half a million unemployed people under the age of 24 get back to work.

My generation is being failed once again by a government, which has failed to grasp the nettle and start training some of the 530,000 16-to-24-years-olds who are currently unemployed.

These unemployment figures, and the grim predictions about lengthy worker shortages from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), should be enough to prompt action, if the pleas from desperate businesses were not enough.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that this problem could easily be turned into a valuable opportunity and could improve the outlook for young people with limited prospects.

It’s time the government started thinking outside of the box and dug deeper into its pockets. The same pockets that have been funding the never-ending furlough scheme and ‘Eat Out to Help Out’, for example.

Government must plough all its efforts into creating great opportunities for young people.

Of course, not everybody can be bothered to work, and it will take some time to train those people that do. This is why ministers must reshape its occupation shortage list and allow more EU workers to return and work in the UK.

We have been hearing about the lack of lorry drivers crippling deliveries, and the shortage of kitchen and waiting staff stretching restaurants and hotels, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

And we have said before, at Pimlico, we could have 50 people across the trades come into Sail Street today and we’d have them on the books and out working immediately.

However, our expert recruitment team is having to work harder than ever to get the right people in now.

There’s even a shortage of butchers in slaughterhouses, which has caused a crisis on pig farms. The National Pig Association says farmers may have to kill and burn nearly 100,000 animals unless ministers agree to a temporary relaxation of the visa rules so that additional workers can be recruited to process the meat.

Britain needs 100,000 more lorry drivers, according to the Road Haulage Association, which estimates it will take at least 18 months to train enough people to fill the gaps.

In the short term, the Government is going to have to admit that it completely underestimated the affect Brexit would have on many industries.

Its occupation shortage list, which helps recruit workers from abroad to fill particular skills gaps, should be updated to include lorry drivers, butchers and bricklayers, and many more industries that have received less media coverage.

But in the medium term, ministers must improve investment in training schemes and harness the skills of the young people who are simply stuck at home with nothing to do.

Apprenticeships are clearly the way out of this mess, but the longer ministers sit on their hands, the more entrenched the problem will become, and the more damage will be done to businesses and our long-term recovery.

Pimlico is well known for its trade apprenticeships, and rightly so.

However, we also offer a great many office-related apprenticeships, such as in business administration and HR.

These are much shorter, often around six months, and can get young people up to speed quickly, helping to build long term futures: theirs and ours.

We need the government to do much more than it is doing with its Kickstart scheme and the like. We need more money for training more young people in many more skill sets, and we need all this yesterday.

Businesses are crying out for people, which means that creating great opportunities for young people is more important than ever as we set out on the long and winding road to recovery.