Showcases / Do you need a better trained workforce?

SHETLAND Islands Council is urging local businesses to participate in a new Skills and Training Survey to ensure that the private sector has the best possible opportunity to grow and generate new jobs.

An employment survey, carried out last year, found that 23 per cent of organisations had experienced difficulties in recruiting staff with appropriate skills.

A new survey has been developed by Economic Development that aims to identify local skill gaps and to identify ways to bridge the gaps for the benefit of local industries.

The survey has been drawn up in recognition that in the current economic climate a buoyant private sector is more important than ever for the wellbeing of Shetland.

The survey is available online at the SIC’s website as of 1 August. You can also access the survey directly from here:

Ms Irvine said she would like to encourage as many local businesses and organisations as possible to invest the time it takes to fill in the survey.

“If we can get enough interest from businesses and receive a good return then this will help us to develop more useful forms of training to match the skill gaps, whether that is by developing new training courses or expanding on those already in place.

“We already have the resources such as Train Shetland and Shetland College, and this is to ensure that these are being used in the best way possible.

“It is, therefore, critical that we get a large number of employers participating in the study to identify the specific issues relating to skills in this area,” she said.

Chairman of the development committee, councillor Alastair Cooper, said the survey was an important tool in preparing for Shetland’s future.

“I believe that this exercise will point towards where skills could enhance business opportunities in Shetland, and I see it also as being a useful guide for school leavers when they are embarking on their chosen careers.”

The survey consists of 27 questions, mainly tick box answers, but also allows businesses to expand on their experiences in trying to recruit people with the appropriate skills.

There are a range of links to useful Economic Development resources accessible on the right should you wish to see what services are already available from the department. Just click on the banner to access the information.

Ms Irvine said that all responses will be treated in the strictest confidence, and should be submitted to her no later than 22 August.

Paper copies of the survey can be provided by calling the EDU at Solarhus on 01595 744911.