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Unite calls for end to ‘skills shortage’

Unite delivers Document to CM 060219 (Photo John Bugeja ) Towards a Sustainable Skills Base in Gib. Standard and practice in Apprenticeship and Training

Unite the Union has called for immediate action on Gibraltar’s “skill shortage”, insisting that efforts need to be made to strengthen long term job opportunities for the youth.

In a statement the union flagged, how, for some time now it has been raising the issue and warning about the lack of pathways to employment for those who are not able to, or decide not to go to university and, in particular, about the lack of a properly structured apprenticeship programme.

In the past Unite explained that this has led to representations being made to the Government suggesting the forms of organisation and infrastructure necessary for the delivery of high quality apprenticeships leading to recognised qualifications.
“We have been uneasy about the lack of coordinated planning between the Departments of Education and Employment,” the union said.

“It seems to us that there is a mismatch or misalliance between the huge economic and human investment in education and how this leads into fruitful, worthwhile employment for our youth.”

Additionally, the union said that it is evident that other sectors of society are also in full agreement with its view, that a comprehensive study of the apprenticeship scheme needs to be undertaken in order to implement a serious programme of study that will equip future tradeswomen and men for the jobs market.

“This impression has been gleaned not only from our contact with our young members but also with the difficulty we find prospective employees encounter in their search for quality jobs and career prospects,” Unite explained.

Unite aims are to encourage better training initiatives that will lead to meaningful employment and having in place a skills eco-system to deliver quality skilled apprenticeships providing young people with skilled jobs.

Unite said it will continue with its campaign towards the improvement of the apprenticeships qualifications in Gibraltar.
“We will continue to meet with organisations, political parties, chamber of commerce and all relevant representation to the occupations, industries and sectors as we push for quality apprenticeships for our youth.”

“The City and Guilds Qualification in place which was implemented in consultation with a UK commercial enterprise, is not in our opinion adequate for the needs of Gibraltar,” the union said.

According to Unite the Government’s position is that Gibraltar only needs general craftsmen in wet trades for the maintenance of government buildings.

“Although Unite have tended to encourage government funding mainly in construction trades, the progressive nature of our modern and constantly diversifying economy prompts us to push to exploring other fields such as the catering and tourism industry, computer coding and the care services among others.”

“Beyond our concern with apprenticeships, we at Unite the Union strongly believe that, given the Gibraltar Government’s commitment to education and the increased public funds spent on its delivery, a consultation process with Unite and other stakeholders should be put in place in order to ensure that Gibraltar becomes fully compliant with established standards in the delivery of qualifications.”

To this end, Unite explained that it has been working on an apprenticeship policy document which it delivered to the Government yesterday.