Up-skilling is the way to unlock productivity
Improving the performance of South West businesses through
training and skills development is central to maintaining
the region's economy.
That's the advice from Business Link following recent
research into productivity commissioned by the South West
of England Regional Development Agency. It suggests that for
every one hundred minutes of travel that businesses are located
from London, their productivity reduces by about 6%.
It's a statistic that becomes more significant the
deeper you travel into this region. By the time you reach
Plymouth, local businesses could be 12% less productive than
their counterparts in London, the report, produced by University
of West of England & University of Bath illustrates.
Bob Dow, chief executive at Business Link says: "Ultimately
sales, economic performance and the development of new ideas
are all down to your employees. This is why all business leaders
and managers should be looking to see how they can better
develop themselves and their workforce and what external help
and assistance is available to them."
Peter Gripaios, professor of applied economics at Plymouth
Business School agrees: "It's vital that the
Devon and Cornish workforce, as well as that of the UK, is
continuously up-skilled. Devon and Cornwall cannot compete
anymore on the basis of low wages and traditional manufacturing.
There is a need to move 'up market' in terms of
products and processes and better education and skills goes
with the territory."
Nigel Jump, chief economist at the South West RDA, said:
"Time-distance from major markets, such as London, has
been shown to be an important factor in explaining differences
in the economic performance of different parts of South West
England. We cannot easily address this factor directly but,
by working with partners to make South West England's
businesses more competitive, especially through our focus
on skills and innovation, we can make time-distance less of
a constraint for the region's economy."
The development of manager and employee skills contributes
to business growth and performance in a multitude of ways,
by adding value to the business, the reduction of costly mistakes
and simply through saving time and being more efficient. Employer
benefits, from offering their workforce good quality training,
include improved retention of employees, a more flexible and
skilled workforce and increased levels of staff motivation.
Shaun Newman, director of development at Connexions, the
advice and information service for young people commented:
"Skill levels and qualifications are widely recognised
as increasingly important for the long term prosperity of
individuals, companies and the whole economy. There is a significant
shift away from lower skilled jobs to those requiring intermediate
and higher level skills and qualifications within the UK economy.
A need for more flexible and multi-skilled staff is increasingly
the norm." He added: "Young people leaving
education have much to offer employers in terms of energy,
enthusiasm, innovation and skills but most will need further
training in the workplace to become fully productive, whether
they are 16 year old school leavers or 21 year old graduates."
Bob Dow says: "We are having contact with and
supporting over 20,000 businesses each year, that's
over a third of all businesses in Cornwall and Devon. Not
only do we give out information but we are listening to and
providing the type of support businesses are saying they want
to help them increase their performance through training and
For further information please contact Maxine McAdams on
01566 771862 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European
Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Business Link Devon and Cornwall
Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service
via an information gateway on the web www.blinkdandc.com
and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and
those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides
impartial business advice and support through a network of
partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register
of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon
and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to
the region under contract from the South West RDA.
Learning Skill Council (LSC)
The LSC exists to make England better skilled and more competitive.
They are responsible for planning and funding high-quality
vocational education and training for everyone. They have
a single goal: to improve the skills of England's young people
and adults to world-class standards. There vision is that
by 2010, young people and adults in England have the knowledge
and skills matching the best in the world and are part of
a truly competitive workforce. Established in 2001 the LSC
works nationally, regionally and locally from a network of
offices across the country.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439