Investing in tomorrow’s workforce must start today so we don’t have to rely on short-term changes in visa rules to fill roles vital for the economy

28th September 2021

The UK Government has backtracked on its previous announcements and confirmed that over 10,000 EU nationals will be allowed to work temporarily in this country in the haulage and poultry sectors. Commenting on the about turn in policy, Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is hardly a ringing endorsement of the UK Government’s competence. They were alerted to the emerging crisis in the summer but they just buried their head in the sand. They have finally taken action but it has been universally criticised as being ‘too little, too late’. “

Mr Mitchell added: “I have sympathy with the Government’s argument that we must develop the skilled workforce we need from within our own population and not always rely on workers from overseas. That is a criminal waste of the talent we have in this country and it puts us in an international bidding war for labour, and that is not where we want to be. Scottish businesses need to do more to attract, recruit, retain and replenish their workforce and maintain their skills at the right level. They need to invest more in apprenticeships and bring in young people in good time, so they don’t face a future retirement cliff edge as their workforce ages. They need to train internally rather than poach externally. The best Scottish firms do workforce planning and development very well but not enough of our companies perform at that level. And, where they need Government support, it needs to be provided more effectively than it is just now.”

He concluded: “Every business in Scotland should be participating in Developing Young Workforce (DYW) as part of its long-term workforce planning and recruitment strategy. Right now, their future workforce is easy to find: they are sat behind desks in our schools, waiting to be told and enthused about the multitude of career opportunities that are open to them in all the industries and business sectors that are operating here in Fife. There is an infrastructure in place to allow any business to engage with all the secondary schools in Fife and we are delighted that Fife Chamber is part of that.

If you want to tell your story and ‘sell’ your business to your future workforce, get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] or calling her on 07527 545733.”

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