Firms encouraged to join The 5% Club to combat national skills shortage

Defence and security firm QinetiQ is leading a new campaign which encourages UK companies to ‘Invest in a Generation’ and join The 5% Club. Members will aspire to make 5% of their workforce graduates, apprentices and sponsored students.

The campaign, which is supported by the CBI and the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, aims to address the national skills shortage and increase the number of young people opting for apprenticeship schemes.

Apprenticeships now span a wide range of professions, such as law, journalism, and digital marketing. Firms like Agilisys, through its apprenticeships division Arch, is pioneering digital marketing apprenticeships with big names such as Google and Barclays.

Many big firms, including FTSE 100 company Babcock International, MBDA and Renishaw have already signed up to the scheme. QinetiQ has set itself a goal of reaching the 5% target by 2015.

CEO of QinetiQ Group, Leo Quinn, said: “As business leaders, we are all aware of the chronic skills shortage which hampers us in world trade – including the dearth of new engineers and technicians who were historically the lifeblood of our growth and innovation. Yet with today’s 20%+ youth unemployment in the UK, we almost always talk in terms of the supply side, looking to the “push” from government and education for the solution to the conundrum. But it is industry that ultimately creates jobs; and we all know that what gets measured gets done.”

John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, said: “This is a crucial campaign. Top-quality training is the key to bridging the critical skills gaps in sectors which fuel growth and keep us globally competitive. Leading firms need to put their money where their mouth is and set a clear example for many more employers to follow. It’s time to build a world-class vocational system in the UK instead of looking on enviously at countries like Germany and the Far East.”

Companies are encouraged to get involved and share their progress via social media. Click here for more information.