The Department of Economic Development is attending several job fairs in the UK and Ireland this year as it aims to close the skills gap in key sectors and grow the Island’s workforce.
Ensuring that businesses have access to the skilled workers they need in order to thrive and increasing the size of the Island’s economically active population are two Government objectives set out in the Programme for Government for an ‘Enterprise and Opportunity Island’.
Heading off-island to recruit skilled and talented workers in targeted sectors is one of a raft of measures being undertaken by the Department, both at home and further afield.
It comes against a background of low levels of unemployment on the Island (1.2% at the end of March) and a 10% increase in job vacancies (932 listed at the JobCentre in March).
Tim Crookall, Member for the Department of Economic Development with responsibility for Employment and Skills, commented:
‘The Department has been instrumental in creating a great environment to support economic growth on the Isle of Man. In order that the economy can continue to grow, it is imperative that businesses have access to the workforce, both in terms of size and skills, that they require.
‘Some key sectors on the Isle of Man have been struggling to recruit enough skilled workers. These include ICT, teaching and healthcare. Recruitment difficulties are not just seen by the Island in these areas but further afield in the UK and some parts of Europe.
‘We have been working closely with businesses and organisations to boost the Island’s skilled workforce, by investing in skills in sought-after areas and local initiatives. They range from apprenticeships to working with employers to promote their sectors in schools.
‘Attending job fairs in major cities spread throughout the UK and Ireland is a further way that we can bridge the skills gap and fill vacant roles across all sectors.’
The Department’s 2017 job fair schedule started in Manchester in April, with events scheduled throughout the year.
Representatives from the Department, including the JobCentre, along with IT businesses and local recruitment agencies such as Hamblin will attend the jobs fairs.
Emma Allard, Managing Director of Hamblin, commented:
‘We were delighted with the level of interest shown in working on the Isle of Man and current vacancies that we saw at the Isle of Man Government stand at last year’s job fairs in Dublin and Cork.
‘As a result of attending the events, we received several CVs from high quality attendees in a range of sectors. We hope our continued presence at the jobs fairs will enable us to promote the many benefits of working on the Island to a receptive audience and ultimately to fill some of the vacancies on our books.’
Other measures that the Department has taken to attract workers to the Island include extending work permit exemptions for certain roles in ICT and e-Business.
On-island, the Department is working with employers to promote ICT in schools and a digital apprenticeship programme launched by the University College Isle of Man and the Department last year has been a success, with 14 apprenticeships completed last year.
Businesses that would like to discuss attending a job fair in the UK and Ireland should contact Elissa Morris on 01624 686488.