Lack of technical skills holding back West Midlands economy says thinktank

A ‘debilitating’ lack of technical skills is holding back the West Midlands economy, a new report claims.

It found manufacturers across the region struggling to fill 11,800 technical roles – nearly half of them in the Black Country.

The research from the Centre for Progressive Capitalism estimates 5,400 of the vacancies were in the Black Country, with the rest across Birmingham and Coventry.

And the thinktank warns newly elected West Midlands Metro Mayor Andy Street “must make technical skills his number one priority”.

Despite falling unemployment and rising productivity across the West Midlands, the report says: “The region is suffering from debilitating skills shortages.

“Analysis done by the Centre suggests that the economy is being held back by a lack of key technical skills, with as many as 43 per cent of vacancies for technical roles categorised as skills shortage vacancies. This figure, significantly highly than the average for the UK as a whole, suggests the region may have a particularly acute problem in filling these kinds of roles.”

The Centre says ensuring the technical education of young people matches the needs of local businesses ‘will be crucial’ to try and plug the skills gap.

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