SMALL business owners in Huddersfield are struggling to find suitably skilled employees, a seminar in the town was told.
The skills shortage was brought to light in a new survey by Lloyds TSB Commercial which showed that almost half of small business owners believe there to be a lack of suitably skilled workers in their region.
The new research coincided with an event held by the bank at the Galpharm Stadium, which provided guidance for more than 50 firms on a range of business issues, including employment regulation, accessing finance and becoming more sustainable.
Yorkshire businesses cited “sufficient experience to have the right skills” and “knowledge of the wider industry” as the main skill shortages within the region.
Employment experts Peninsula were on hand to address how firms can remain compliant with recent employment law while still focusing on the growth of their business and developing a strong and skilled workforce.
Greg Flynn, senior manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial, encouraged guests to explore the range of finance options available to them and urged firms to get to grips with becoming more sustainable in their everyday business activities.
He said: “What’s interesting about the employment research is that while Yorkshire business owners believe there is a lack of suitably skilled workers in the region, a similar percentage – 40% – of the area’s employees feel their organisations should provide increased training, either within the company or externally.
“The skills currently considered to be in short supply are those where more staff training and ‘hands on’ experience may alleviate the problem and so it is vital that Huddersfield businesses invest in their employees.
“Equally importantly, local firms must embrace sustainability.
“The opportunities created by the environmental agenda are too great to ignore, not only directly contributing to economic growth and business development but from an employment perspective, sustainability can play a major role in improving employee engagement.”
Ian Langford, of Peninsula, added: “A solid and strong workforce is the backbone of any firm so it is vital that business owners engage, train and respect their employees.
“Training does not have to be expensive – SMEs can focus on internally-run courses which do not require a large budget but still promote the employer-employee relationship, increase company performance and ultimately result in the growth and development of the business.”
Firms were also given the opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with their local expert from Peninsula as well as the chance to partake in an interactive workshop focused on sourcing and accessing suitable finance options.