More businesses are investing in their staff

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BUSINESSES in the region are actively investing in staff as they attempt to close a ‘skills gap’ created by the recession, an expert has revealed.

Chris Boyle, head of Employment at Napthens, which has offices in Preston, reports that during the recession many employers were not hiring new staff, and in some cases they were making redundancies.

Now the economy is improving, many employers in sectors such as engineering and manufacturing are now finding they have particular skills gaps.

For instance, nationally the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Skills and Demand in Industry study showed that 42 per cent of respondents reported that ‘recent engineering, IT and technical recruits did not meet reasonable expectations for levels of skill.’

Chris said: “Many businesses have a lack of young staff rising through the ranks thanks to recruitment often being on hold during the recession, so there has been a noticeable drive to ‘upskill’ existing staff.

“For instance, at Napthens we have seen a clear trend of businesses approaching us for support with employment and HR training.

“Businesses are seeking advice on equality issues, dealing with discipline and grievance procedures – making sure staff are properly training and follow the right procedures.”

Chris added: “This is a trend we are likely to see continue as businesses emerge from the recession and begin to look at expansion and investment once again.”