Warrington & Co. recently arranged a business breakfast on behalf of Warrington’s new Mayor Cllr Geoff Settle, kindly hosted by Don Timmons, General Manager at The Village Urban Resort Warrington.
It was a very candid and informative event attended by a small, select cross section of businesses from different sectors and of various sizes. It was great to hear such tangible business optimism in the room and a clear pride in being based in Warrington and the advantages that that brings. It was also encouraging that the resurgence in the national economy is enticing local business confidence and of their plans to grow, expand and recruit.
However, there was a unanimous concern over the need to maintain a steady supply of skilled workers, in every sector, in order to feed and fuel their continued growth plans.
And that is clearly not just a concern in Warrington as it was echoed in the recent findings of a report produced this week which declared skills shortages as being the single biggest barrier to the growth in the whole of the North across all sectors. The report by recruitment group Manpower, declared that while many employers in the South can rely on a steady supply of workers, there are far fewer qualified candidates in the North.
In the North West employers sought to grow their workforce in the third quarter, but according to the report are being hampered by a skills shortage.
Addressing future skill shortages is a key feature in Warrington’s economic growth framework, Warrington Means Business. Warrington’s economy is growing exponentially and a skill shortage cannot be allowed to stifle or hamper that growth.
UTC Warrington will be a huge boon to the town bringing through a supply of work-ready young people to go into careers in engineering. The Future Tech Studio School, similarly is proving a great success.
Crucially the town and the town ‘offer’, in all its forms also has to be attractive to encourage people to live and work here. The growth programmes set out Warrington Means Business will go a long way to addressing this.