New Employment Minister Announced
New employment minister announced:
Addressing the UK’s skills crisis as well as building better links between schools and business through improved interaction with the Department for Education are on recruiters’ wish-list of priorities for Priti Patel, the new minister of state for employment.
This morning government announced Patel had secured the post as part of a Cabinet reshuffle following the Conservative Party’s victory at last week’s general election. Nicky Morgan will continue in her role as secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities.
Patel, the Member of Parliament for Witham, replaces previous holder of the post Esther McVey, Tory MP for Wirral West, who lost her seat.
Ian Knowlson, a recruitment trainer and former director at recruitment giant Hays, told Recruiter Patel’s top priority should be to tackle current acute skills shortages in the UK.
“She needs to address the acute skills shortage that is going to undermine the growth of the UK economy over the next 20 to 30 years.
“We have a 23m shortfall of skilled workers in Europe and we also have 20m unemployed people, so there is a bit of correlation there,” he added. “At the moment there are skills shortages in IT and engineering.”
In order to address skills shortages in these sectors, David Leyshon, chairman at technical recruiter CBSbutler, told Recruiter Patel needs her department to forge better links with her colleagues in education.
“The problem is employers find it difficult and frustrating to connect with the schools. They do want to reach out and get schools to understand what employability skills they require but there is a lack of bridging between industry and schools.
“There needs to be a greater interaction. It has started. In Guildford we have seen the start-up of these technical colleges, which are very vocational and are designed to drive STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] skills but from a national point of view we are only scratching the surface.”
Elsewhere as part of the reshuffle, Sajid Javid was made business secretary, an appointment welcomed by Chris Bryce, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed (IPSE).
He said in a statement: “We know Mr Javid cares passionately about improving the UK’s poor payment culture and we will actively engage with the new business secretary on the establishment of a small business conciliation service promised by the Conservative Party in its manifesto.
“The UK’s economic growth depends on the self-employed and small businesses having the right regulatory framework to thrive and we eagerly anticipate the new business secretary bringing forward an agenda that inspires confidence in the business community. One pillar of this will be conducting a root and branch review of the business rates system, which currently holds back many self-employed people who frequently use work hubs.”