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The results of the annual skills survey have been released by Opportunity Peterborough, the city’s economic development company. The 2012 survey saw a 50% increase on last year’s response rate and was completed by 223 Peterborough businesses.
For the second year running, businesses listed employability, literacy and numeracy skills as the priority areas for improvement in the city’s young people. However, the figures are in fact lower than last year’s result signalling encouraging signs that Peterborough’s young people are beginning to progress in these areas.
The Peterborough Skills Service was launched in response to feedback from last year’s skills survey and has been running a programme of events designed to help young people build their employability skills. As a brokerage service, it works in partnership with local employers, schools and educational partners to deliver a range of services including, career and apprenticeship workshops, mentoring sessions, interview and CV clinics, which aim to assist young people to develop their work-readiness.
When asked about vacancies which are proving hard to fill, 117 positions were listed. Given that this figure is only a small sample of Peterborough businesses, it’s likely that there are many more vacancies across the city which are difficult to recruit for. Therefore, the Peterborough Skills Service will continue to work with education providers to ensure the right training is available to the city’s young people to help them to gain the appropriate skills to compete for local jobs.
When responding to questions about apprenticeships, although 70 additional businesses replied to this section of the survey compared to last year, the same number of businesses plan to either recruit additional apprentices or recruit for the first time.
Apprenticeships provide an important alternative route to skills development and grants are available to assist businesses with recruiting apprentices. With the increase in university fees and the raising of the education participation age, there are likely to be more young people than ever looking for apprenticeship opportunities in Peterborough.
Surveyed businesses reported that, for their own employees, higher education is most effectively delivered through work-based learning and accredited short courses. Like last year, management and business, finance and marketing degrees topped the chart for being most relevant to local businesses. Encouragingly, degrees in these disciplines are already available in Peterborough.
Neil Darwin, chief executive at Opportunity Peterborough, said: “The survey has again given us some great insight into the city’s skills levels and we’re grateful to all those businesses that took part. The results show that we’ve taken great strides in improving the work readiness of Peterborough’s young people, but that there’s still work to be done to ensure skills gaps are filled. We’ll now use our analysis to help influence what provision is delivered in Peterborough so the needs of our local businesses can be met by local residents.”
To read the full skills survey report, please click here. To have your say and help to inform Peterborough’s skills agenda, take part in next year’s survey by signing up to the Peterborough Skills Vision. Click here to register.