(*Skilled, Homeless, Unemployed Now)
- 44% of people think there should be more back-to-work support for the homeless and helping lower income young people was seen as a priority by 42%
- 53% of UK adults have experienced barriers that have impacted their own social mobility
- Carillion launches new ‘Breaking Down a Million Barriers’ pledge and campaign – to improve employability skills and social mobility
Helping homeless people into work and creating job opportunities for young people from lower income backgrounds should be among the UK’s top priorities to plug the skills gap, according to a survey commissioned by integrated support services company Carillion, which employs more than 48,500 people internationally.
The survey found that the public believed creating new job opportunities for people with disabilities and those leaving the armed forces should also be a priority. It also revealed that 53% of UK adults have experienced barriers that have negatively impacted or potentially impacted their own social mobility.
Details of the survey have been released as Carillion launches a campaign, “Breaking down one million barriers” to focus on improving employability skills, inspiring the next generation of workers and helping people from disadvantaged groups to find long-term employment. Defined by Carillion as the ‘SHUNned’ (Skilled, Homeless, Unemployed Now) generation, these people are often overlooked, yet could address the skills gap, and boost the economy in an uncertain socioeconomic climate.
The UK workforce is facing many major changes with new pressures on how people enter, remain or return to the job market, for example with increasing digitisation and rapid technological change across many industries. Real and perceived barriers remain a constant threat to opportunities for people who have skills or potential but are unable to realise them. There are also barriers for those who may have been in ‘non-traditional’ employment – including those who have served in the armed forces – as well as people who are returning to the job market, including ex-offenders.
Speaking at the launch of Carillion’s latest Sustainability Report chief executive Richard Howson said: “We regularly hear about skills gaps in various industry sectors, especially engineering and construction, while there are pools of people who could fill those gaps if they had the right support.
People from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with disabilities, ex-offenders and young people are already making exceptional contributions to our business, but often these groups get overlooked by society, with their skills and potential left untapped.
“Carillion’s ‘Breaking Down one Million Barriers’ programme is about using the influence of our business, the commitment of our employees, our customers, supply chain and partners to improve employability skills and social mobility for all.”
The survey has clearly shown that the public recognise many groups who could help plug the skills gap and we are determined to help remove the barriers to this happening.”
The survey also showed that there is appetite to volunteer amongst the UK public, but only around one in six currently do so and fewer than one third of workplaces offer volunteering schemes. Businesses can play a very real and important role in enabling their employees to have a positive impact on the wider world, through voluntary work, while developing their own skills in the process. All Carillion people are entitled to six days paid leave a year to volunteer.
Carillion’s campaign will run until 2030 as part of its commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals one of which is to “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”
*Answers to the question: “which of the following do you feel would be most beneficial to businesses/the economy to plug the current skills gap in the UK?” were multiple choice
NB: The research was carried out on a sample of 2,000 UK consumers in May 2017 by third party research company, Opinion