Over 50 per cent of employers in the Midlands have highlighted management ability as the most pressing skill need in their staff, according to a new report published today.
The research was conducted amongst indigenous small-medium enterprises (SMEs ) and large multinationals in counties Westmeath, Roscommon, Offaly, Laois, and Longford. The Midlands Gateway Chamber in conjunction with the Midlands Gateway Implementation Forum commissioned the survey to identify those skills that employers feel are required to achieve their business objectives.
Two-thirds of respondents indicated that they needed to up-skill their employees in order to meet their organisation’s business objectives. This figure varied depending on the size of the organisation, with 84 per cent of larger organisations (over 50 employees ) and 54 per cent of businesses employing less than 50 people agreeing with the statement.
The President of the Midlands Gateway Chamber, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said: “Successive reports and national policy documents have pointed to the need for Ireland to move more centrally into the knowledge economy space. For its part, the Midlands Gateway has a wealth of corporate and human resource talent to enable this development. However, we must be cognisant of shortfalls and lacunae in our offering and move to address these issues. This Skill Needs Assessment is a powerful tool to understanding our current skills position and the steps that are essential to fulfilling the region and its communities’ true potential.”
One of the recommendations of the Skill Needs Assessment report is that the Midlands Gateway Chamber and the Implementation Forum should agree a specific action plan for the Gateway with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, FÁS, AIT, and other relevant agencies to address the priority skill needs across the region.
This action plan should include an internet portal that brings together all training and education courses on offer. It also calls for the establishment of a system that regularly assesses the region’s skills base and a further needs assessment of unemployed people and persons who did not complete secondary school.
For employers, the report suggests that organisations should address the key training issues identified in the survey of making employees available for training and enhancing the mechanisms to allow employees take advantage of the flexible course offerings of education and training providers.
The report also states that smaller organisations should invest more in employee training and consider the benefits of increased attention to human resources.
The research was conducted in late 2008, with one-quarter of the 230 large employer organisations (more than 50 staff ) and a further 107 smaller organisations completing the survey.