Ballymena home to UK’s first Skills Exchange Hub
A new UK-wide skills initiative which would see staff members loaned to other organisations has launched in Ballymena.
Skills Exchange UK uses an online database where employers upload their details about their workers.
Then if a company needs to make cuts or is in a position where it could take on extra staff, the website can be used to select or advertise workers.
Ballymena became the first Skill Exchange hub when the scheme was unveiled last Tuesday and in the next six months three more hubs will be set up across Northern Ireland. By the end of 2013 there will be 35 Skill Exchange hubs across the UK.
That means staff will be able to travel to work opportunities across the UK, widening the possibility of employment.
Speaking at the launch, Ballymena Mayor, PJ McAvoy, said: “It is no surprise to me that Ballymena will be the first hub in the UK. It is typical of the practical, no nonsense approach of people of this borough to knuckle down and make things happen.
“The number one priority for elected members is to secure and grow our economy. We are involved in economic development initiatives which will hopefully lead to creating and retaining jobs within the borough, increase skills and education, improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens and ultimately grow the local economy.
“I believe that the Skills Exchange Hub will help us to secure and grow our economy through securing and protecting a skilled workforce. It is an innovative and collaborative model which will allow local employers to work together to share skills and expertise across their organisations, for the benefit of employees, businesses and ultimately all of the local economy.”
Alderman McAvoy went on to pay tribute to the vision and enthusiasm of fellow founding partners JTI, Michelin, Moy Park, Wrightbus, Dunbia and the Northern Regional College.
“We look forward to continuing to work with them on this innovative and ground breaking project,” he said.
Michelin, Moy Park, JTI, Dunbia, Wrightbus and the Northern Regional College have funded the entire project which will allow smaller and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and others in the area to benefit from the skills exchange free of charge.
Skill Exchange UK Chief Executive, Phil Flaxton, said: ““We have a long term aim of improving productivity and competiveness and creating growth in the workplace through the introduction of a brand new recycling attitude to valuable local resources amongst local businesses.”
MP for the area, Ian Paisley jnr. added: “Skill Exchange UK have created an innovative and game-changing idea that will redefine many of our attitudes to employment and skills.
“As the Skill Exchange network grows, the transfer of knowledge and skills will occur all over the United Kingdom and I am proud that Ballymena and North Antrim will have lead the way in this exciting and refreshing network.
“It is my sincere belief that it is not just the multi-national corporations, but also the SMEs and colleges within the area who will benefit from the hub. The sharing of people and skills will be a vital attribute for many of our areas businesses, and I look forward with great anticipation to watching the hub grow and prosper into a network that will benefit the whole community.”
Launched at Michelin Tyres, last week, Skill Exchange UK is an independent, not for profit organisation developed in conjunction with Leading Employers, ACAS and the TUC.
It provides a simple but highly innovative service aimed at local employer ‘skill recycling’, an efficient and more sensible alternative to skill wastage, by facilitating local placements for under used staff into other firms that can benefit from the ‘loan’ of skilled staff at low cost.
A recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that one in three businesses is keeping more staff than needed to avoid losing skills, but would enforce redundancies if economic growth did not return. This highlights the high value that employers place on retaining skilled employees, but clearly as budgets are cut alternatives are needed.
The Local Skill Exchange Hub Programme will operate across all industry sectors to provide employer members ways to cut costs but retain their key staff by lending or renting them out to other firms and sharing the costs. At the same time substantial benefit will flow up and down the supply chains as skills and experience develop, knowledge transfer takes place and information and best practice are genuinely shared.
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Weather for Ballymena
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South