21 February 2018
Upskilling people in the West Midlands is now a key priority after the region remained the worst in the UK for unemployment, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said today.
The Office for National Statistics reported that for the three months ending December 2017, the highest unemployment rate in the UK was in the West Midlands at 5.4 per cent, a 0.1 per cent decreased on the previous figures. In the same period the region’s employment rate was 72.3 per cent, also a 0.1 per cent decrease.
Nationally, unemployment remained at 4.3 per cent while the employment rate rose by 0.3 per cent to 75.6 per cent.
Paul Faulkner (pictured), chief executive of the GBCC, said: “Last month the Chamber expressed deep concerns regarding employment in the West Midlands and seeing these latest statistics, we would like to reiterate these.
“As the largest city in the West Midlands, Birmingham is enjoying an exciting period of renaissance and development, with more to come through key events like the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.
“Yet proportions of the population qualified to NVQ Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 are significantly lower than the average across Great Britain. Upskilling local residents and ensuring they are able to access the opportunities on offer and be part of the region’s growing success story is and must continue to be a key priority for the region.”
To aid the Chamber in understanding and representing business views, businesses across the Greater Birmingham region are encouraged to take part in our Quarterly Business Report Survey here.
Mr Faulkner added: "This quarter the Chamber are asking additional questions on recruitment difficulties and the barriers businesses face when hiring apprentices.
"We want to understand how we and local and national stakeholders can do more to help businesses find the right talent and invest in training and upskilling staff."