16 Jan

My Eye – Investment in skills: an antidote to business uncertainty?

Account Executive Jack Gibson reflects on Wendy Austin’s Economic Outlook for 2017.

 

Wendy Austin’s Inside Business podcast is always worth a listen. This week, however, it was especially good!

On Sunday, the veteran broadcaster asked several leading figures in the NI business scene for their Economic Outlook for 2017.

Her panel identified Brexit, inflation, currency fluctuations, Corporation Tax and the Trump presidency as the major issues for businesses in 2017.

Alongside these considerations, there was of course the issue of the current political crisis in Stormont. Political instability, the panellists were agreed, was likely to deter investment in Northern Ireland.

It’s interesting, though, that alongside these major, headline-grabbing issues there was agreement that investment in skills is also essential if NI businesses are to prosper.

Business Journalist Paul Gosling was among those who raised the issue. He highlighted three areas in which government can provide tangible support to business: skills base, cost base and infrastructure.

Having access to workers with the right skills is, as Paul rightly identifies, one of the key determinants of whether business can thrive.

In a time of great uncertainty, at home and abroad, it’s important that we control all the variables we can.

Properly planning for and investing in our skills base is an obvious, important way for government to help our economy weather uncertainty. Let’s just hope that we have an Executive in place as soon as possible to do so!

On January 26, Chambré Public Affairs, in association with PeoplePlus NI, will hold a major seminar on how to address our skills shortages. With an excellent panel of confirmed speakers, the event promises to provide a unique insight into a problem that looks set only to grow in coming years. To reserve your place, please click here and fill out the online form.