What are the skills needs of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)?
The last UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ (UKCES) Employer Skills Survey relating specifically to Wales, published in 2013, indicated that skills shortages in skilled trades and in caring and leisure occupations had increased over the previous two years. It also foresaw that skills requirements would change over the following year. There hasn’t been a national survey since.
In an attempt to plug the gap, CollegesWales / ColegauCymru, in collaboration with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wales, has commissioned research into the role and importance of skills, training and qualifications to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Wales. The research focuses on a survey of employers in the travel & tourism, retail, hospitality and catering sectors – sectors which have a particularly mobile workforce.
The survey seeks to understand the level of awareness of qualifications among employers, the transparency of the qualifications system, and how portable qualifications are seen to be. The survey also attempts to identify the skills levels that employers need to fill skills shortages – the balance between qualifications at, for example, Level 2 (GCSE level), Level 3 (Extended Diploma, A levels), Level 4/5 (HNC, HND, Foundation Degree), Level 6 (honours degree) etc.
Whilst the data gathered by the survey will be kept confidential by the research team at the University of South Wales and Cardiff University, the results of the survey will be shared by SMEs, the commissioning partners and government in order to help shape post-16 education and training policies and delivery.
The value of the survey will of course increase in relation to the number of participating SMEs. We therefore urge SME employers in Wales to be a part of it.