Companies across a wide range of industries in the UK will soon find they are being impacted by a severe shortage of skills, if the latest findings by one organisation are to be believed. Unite, the country's largest union, has revealed its belief that the UK is sitting on a "skills timebomb", with urgent action required now if this gap in talents is to be closed and firms are to continue to be able to employ highly capable individuals for all their positions. Assistant general secretary of Unite Tony Burke, speaking at a conference on skills in Manchester today (June 6th), explained the key to solving the problem is apprenticeships. "Decent, skilled apprenticeships today will translate into the skilled workforce of tomorrow - that should be the goal for British manufacturing and our science based industries," he stated. Unite went on to pick out a variety of sectors in which it believes a skills timebomb is now a major problem. These included life sciences, oil, pharmaceuticals and polymer, all of which could now be looking for more people to engage in courses and schemes to provide them with the relevant experience and qualifications to undertake jobs. "In the UK we have a skills deficit which was created because even in the good times, the UK failed to take on enough young people in skilled apprenticeships. We are facing a demographic timebomb," Mr Burke continued. As such, companies seeking people to fill energy jobs, for example, in the future could look to run apprenticeship schemes in a bid to get young people up to speed with the demands of the role. Mr Burke highlighted the Technical Apprenticeship Service model as one that is a great example of moving forwards. This scheme has already placed 100 new apprentices and 100 more are ready to begin in September this year, with 400 companies having expressed an interest in being involved. Such work could be the key to preventing the skills timebomb exploding any time soon.
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