The widespread shortage of skills in construction and related rural and heritage trades is nationally acknowledged. The increasing scarcity of appropriately qualified, skilled labour in the Yorkshire Dales and in the surrounding rural areas is already having an effect on the area's capacity to resource local building, preservation and maintenance projects.
In the heritage sector, despite the flow of substantial funds into the repair and restoration of traditional structures and landscapes, the skills base has not grown to meet the demand. A sustainable future for the landscapes and habitats of the Dales, and for traditional structures such as barns and walls, depends upon the availability of people with a wide range of specialist craft and conservation skills skills that are increasingly difficult to find.
So, what needs to be done to redress this imbalance between the demand and supply of skills needed by these sectors?
Local research demonstrates that this skills shortfall has to be addressed through the development of a local infrastructure that supports employers, identifies job vacancies, registers the availability of skilled labour and provides easy access to appropriate training resources.
The development of an online, interactive Rural Trades Register is the foundation for a rural trades communication network in Craven and the Yorkshire Dales. It does this by:
- supporting and developing employment and training opportunities in rural trades including construction, heritage, countryside skills and conservation.
- giving rural trades businesses an opportunity to market their own services, advertise permanent vacancies or temporary labour shortages.
- allowing individuals to promote themselves according to their location, their skills and availability in the local employment market.
- allowing individuals, landowners or businesses to register their requirements for skills and labour.
- directing members to appropriate training information and local training providers.
The site is being developed by local web technology provider, QDK Limited, in association with Craven College and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Funding for the initiative has come from the Learning and Skills Council North Yorkshire, as part of a contract with Yorkshire Forward to deliver the skills elements of the Sub Regional Action Plan (SRAP).
If you would like more information on this project, or would like to register your business, please visit the website at www.ruraltrades.org.uk, or contact Gareth Williams at the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Old Post Office, Main Street, Clapham LA2 8DP T: (015242) 51002 E: firstname.lastname@example.org