Manufacturers Prioritize Skills Development Amid Rising Inflation, Reveals New Report

by Anna

Despite the challenges posed by rising inflation, a recent report highlights that training budgets remain a top priority for manufacturers. The annual In-Comm Training Barometer, released today, indicates that 86% of surveyed firms have maintained their spending intentions for training, underscoring a steadfast commitment to skills development within the industry.

The survey, which garnered insights from 113 industry leaders, also reveals a notable increase in investments in new technology aimed at enhancing productivity. Over three-quarters of respondents reported allocating resources towards technological advancements, marking an 8% rise compared to last year’s findings.


Furthermore, the report showcases a strong emphasis on apprenticeship programs, with 61% of companies expressing intentions to onboard apprentices in the coming year. Of these, 84% cite the need to cultivate future engineering talent as the primary driver behind their decision.


Gareth Jones, Managing Director of In-Comm Training, contextualized the findings within the broader landscape of global challenges, noting the resilience displayed by businesses in prioritizing skills development amidst external pressures. “In the face of soaring prices and geopolitical uncertainties, the commitment of businesses to address skills gaps is commendable,” Jones remarked.


However, the report also sheds light on persistent challenges within the national training framework. A significant majority (72%) of respondents voiced concerns over inadequate government support for training initiatives. Specifically, 44% called for improved funding for apprenticeships, while 39% advocated for enhanced upskilling opportunities.


Jones highlighted disparities between national and local perspectives on training support, citing examples of regional initiatives, such as the funding boost received from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to facilitate modularized training programs. Despite employer enthusiasm for such initiatives, Jones noted a lack of corresponding support from overarching national strategies.

Additionally, the report touches upon the issue of youth unemployment among NEETS, emphasizing the potential of funded training programs to address this challenge while simultaneously meeting industry demands.

On the topic of reshoring, the report paints a nuanced picture, indicating a decline in reshoring success rates among manufacturers. Gareth Jones emphasized the need for a comprehensive strategy to understand and support reshoring efforts, particularly in the context of skills acquisition and productivity enhancement.

Regarding the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in skills development, the report suggests a slow uptake among surveyed firms, with only 6% acknowledging the integration of AI technologies. Jones likened this trend to the initial stages of Industry 4.0 adoption, expressing optimism about the future role of AI in workforce development and decision-making processes.

Looking ahead, the report underscores the importance of ongoing dialogue and collaboration to address the evolving challenges and opportunities in skills development within the manufacturing sector. For those interested in exploring the comprehensive findings of the report, it is available for download on the In-Comm website or through the company’s social media channels.

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