Skills in Gloucestershire: 50/50 Challenge
By Sarah Wood
Business West is working with the Government on the local skills improvement plans for Gloucestershire (LSIPs).
The key to LSIPs is to find out exactly what skills employers in Gloucestershire need.
The inherent skills of Gloucestershire - particularly in specialist engineering - are fast disappearing, through early retirements and the aftermath of Covid.
That's why Business West, GFirstLEP and Gloucestershire County Council have come up with the 50/50 Challenge. The idea is to encourage and help over 50s back into work.
The 50/50 Challenge is very simple: 50 employers to offer 50 hours of work placement to 50 people aged over 50.
Gloucestershire's aim is to sign up those 50 employers over 50 days - one employer per day.
Gloucestershire County Council's Employment and Skills Hub has pulled together the 50/50 proposition very quickly and enthused companies anxious to recruit skilled people, who may want to return to work after retiring.
Ian Mean MBE, director of Gloucestershire Chamber at Business West, said: "Skills -and the lack of them - is the word that consistently rears its head when I talk to companies. Skills is "the ability to do something well". Not surprising then, that the Government is putting great emphasis on skills in the workplace.
"Vikki Walters of the county council has told me there has been excellent reaction to 50/50. So far, 13 employers have committed themselves to the 50/50 pledge and Gloucestershire County Council is offering up to 20 opportunities."
Eight more companies want to sign up when they get further detail and another 17 employers have expressed an interest and are being followed up by the Employment and Skills Hub.
Ian Mean continued: "This is a good example of how GFirst LEP, Business West and Gloucestershire County Council can work together collaboratively on an idea that could benefit retired, skilled people and at the same time help to boost our economy.
"And there is a big message behind the 50/50 Challenge: If you don't need to retire, don't do it!"
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