Half of Fenland businesses reckon ‘a few GCSEs’ is all they need from new recruits

TWO fifths of Fenland firms who took part in a business survey say there’s no reason to improve the skills levels of their workers.

And around half the businesses surveyed believe “a few GCSEs are sufficient for their core needs.”

The report concludes that “that ambitions and focus on learning needs to be strengthened within employers as well as the workforce.”

The findings come from a recently published Fenland District Council Business Survey.

“A high proportion of businesses do not need skills levels higher than level 2 for any position in their business” says the report. “A significant number place a high emphasis on basic competencies and reliability”.

Sales and care businesses are most likely to have problems with recruitment “yet employers don’t tend to require high skills. Skilled trades and business services sectors tend to require high level skills- retail and tourism sectors tend to require the lowest skills.”

The report adds: “Only a small proportion of businesses felt they did not have the right skills to move forward.

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“Despite a range of recent evidence indicating low skills levels in the area, only 40 per cent of respondents felt they needed skills levels in their workforce to be improved.”

The report also concludes that “low business density, low competition levels and low skills levels in Fenland have meant that many businesses focus on filling a small market niche within the area and do not have extensive growth and development plans.

“Only 43 per cent of businesses responding to the survey have a learning and development plan, suggesting that many businesses cannot have a clear idea of current and future skills needs.”