Can hiring equipment bridge a skills gap?


The UK skills shortage has been amplified as a result of COVID-19, according to research which has apparently found that site managers are not confident in the ability of their team to operate or fix a steam boiler.

In the recent survey, 99% of industrial workers said it is either very difficult or somewhat difficult to hire staff with the skills required to operate or fix a steam boiler because of the impact of COVID19.

The survey of over 200 respondents was commissioned by Aggreko, a supplier of power generation and control equipment, as the business looks for more ways to identify and alleviate industry pain points. It included those working in maintenance, production, energy, and facilities roles across manufacturing, petrochemical, hospitals and governmental organisations.

The industrial skills gap was further highlighted in March when 20 MPs signed an Early Day Motion calling for manufacturing skills to be included in national curriculum. The group noted that closing the skills gap in manufacturing will require 186,000 skilled individuals to be hired every year until 2024.

According to Aggreko, it is actively looking at ways in which its hire proposition can negate the need for businesses to source specialist skills in-house. Options include companies supplementing equipment during periods of maintenance and high demand, or moving over to decentralised solutions.

Within its same survey, over half (59%) of respondents stated the lack of skilled labour as a reason for COVID19 having a negative impact on the business recently.

Matt Watson, Manufacturing Specialist at Aggreko Northern Europe, said: “Industry is at an energy crossroads, conflicted by a clear desire to become more sustainable and innovative in the way it uses power and temperature control, but also with an ongoing need to do more with less following a period of disruption. Naturally this is exacerbating an already-pressured skills shortage across industry.”

By considering a hired approach to equipment for industrial applications, such as steam boilers, CHP, dehumidifiers, cooling, businesses can also benefit from the specialist expertise that comes alongside it, as well as having access to the latest technology.

Matt added: “Our business model has always been about enabling companies to be more agile, and so we’re continuing to invest in our own skills in order to help customers navigate this critical period of change.”

For more information, click here to download Aggreko’s new report, ‘Steaming Ahead with Sustainability and Productivity