The Lancashire and Cumbria Institute of Technology (IoT), a cohort of local colleges and universities with a focus on technical training and workforce development, has published a new report about the region’s skills gap.  

The IoT Barometer Report found that employers across both Lancashire and Cumbria generally experienced the same issues; recruiting the right talent, and finding quicker ways to upskill existing staff. 

The research further revealed that while traditional skills were still relevant employers, from many different sectors and industries – such as construction, engineering and health – as also need newer digital skills and automation expertise within their organisations.

In addition, the IoT’s employer engagement teams – which carried out the Barometer research – also reported that businesses have an increasing need for better education and training around soft skills such as critical thinking, communication skills, resilience and creative problem solving.

In response to the findings, the IoT has issued a rallying call to businesses to speak up about their skills gaps, and work with it to train up the workforces of the future. 

Linda Dean, head of the Lancashire and Cumbria Institute of Technology, said:

“This government initiative is about bringing together industry and education to benefit our regions and we’re hugely proud to be leading the charge. 

“We cannot do it alone, though, which is why we’ve adopted a pan-Lancashire and Cumbria approach as a cluster of colleges, universities and employers. If we collaborate now, we can grow the economy together to benefit now and in years to come.

“This Barometer Report shows that many employers are ready to work with us to address their skills challenges, but we need more to join us as we create programmes that will provide the skilled workers our region needs.”

The Lancashire and Cumbria IoT is part of a network of institutes introduced by the government to help deliver technical training across the UK.

Lancashire colleges involved in the initiative include Blackpool and The Fylde College, Nelson and Colne College Group, Burnley College, Blackburn College, Preston College, Runshaw College and Lancaster and Morecambe College. 

Together, these institutions have invested £8.7m in industry-leading equipment and technologies in areas such as 3D printers, CNC machines, cyber-security facilities and virtual reality systems. 

For more information on the IoT go here.

To download a copy of the Barometer report, click here.