SMEW 2024


How do we combat the skills gap?

05 Jun 2024
Maintenance Theatre
Working alongside Manufacturers for the last 7 years there has been a common theme that has progressively got worse, the ever-growing labour shortage & skills gap. A study in 2022 predicted that 18% of the current manufacturing workforce in the UK is due to retire by 2026. With 47% of people quitting their apprenticeships, we're here to guide you through the challenges.

Adam & Emma have seen some brilliant examples of companies that have really tackled the impending problem head on and others that have really struggled to recruit and retain staff. Having worked closely with these businesses we hope to share these insights with you.

Recruitment, Re-training & Retention is key to combatting the skills gap.

Fixing the skills shortage will require collaborative action across local authorities, the education  sector and businesses to create a long-term solutions and talent pipelines. One thing is for sure, the manufacturing skills gap requires urgent attention. So, what can you do to bridge the gap in your business?


Ensuring your recruitment process protects the brand of your business is imperative while recruiting, understanding that future employees will have choice when interviewing and that as a business you will need to sell yourself as a great opportunity. Recruiting for cultural fit and a willingness to learn, rather than can they hit the ground running has proven very successful.

Training & upskilling.

Upskilling current workers and inspiring the next generation should be a key focus. Inviting young people to discover the wide range of jobs available and enticing them into learning STEM skills will be a key part of creating a workforce fit for the future and narrowing the skills gap.

Manufacturers need to ensure experienced workers are passing on their knowledge to the next generation before retiring. You could consider setting up incentivised mentorship programmes and training to make sure these expert skills are not lost forever.

Best practice

Creating and delivering a great apprentice experience requires commitment, time and energy. Companies running successful apprenticeship schemes cite the need for a structured, planned approach embedded in strategy, supported by fostering a culture wherein the whole workforce is onboard with the purpose and value of the scheme. Shockingly, hundreds of thousands of apprentices quit each year because of a bad workplace experience. For manufacturers that are strategically committed to growing their own talent, understanding what 'great' looks like and how to implement it into their own apprenticeship scheme is crucial.
Emma Devereux, Managing Director - Maintech Recruitment Ltd
View all SMEW 2024