People Campaign

Access to people is one of the biggest issues facing our business communities. Firms of all sizes and sectors are grappling with skills shortages, falling productivity and the changing nature of the workplace.

Multiple changes to the skills system, varying quality training and resources and an evolving working environment mean that UK business struggle to find the right people for their teams. Chamber research shows that over half of UK businesses say the time taken to fill average vacancies is longer than five years ago.

The Chamber Network is working with government, businesses, academics and employees to address these crucial issues by focusing on three key areas:

  • Shaping policy through the publication of two reports looking at the future of the workforce - see details below.
  • Showcasing the range of diverse career paths on offer in towns and cities across the UK via Business Showcase Days. 
  • Championing progressive employment by encouraging and enabling firms to adapt their working practices in order to attract new and diverse talent.
Amazon's Career Choice programme

Amazon's Career Choice programme

Amazon is creating 10,000 new permanent jobs and investing £10 million across the country to train their staff in skills that are in short supply in the local economy, via their Career Choice programme.

Accredited Chambers of Commerce will have the opportunity to work with Amazon to identify regional skills shortages ensuring training is focused on local needs.

The company will provide classroom-based learning through Amazon Career Choice, as well as exploring opportunities with the Accredited Chamber of Commerce network to provide practical work experience and mentoring in employees’ chosen future professions.

The 10,000 new permanent jobs that Amazon will create in the UK this year will include roles in both its corporate offices and operations network. Corporate roles will be available in offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Cambridge across a wide range of fields including:

  • fashion
  • digital marketing
  • engineering
  • video production
  • AI and machine learning, and more.

Find out more
​​Workplace Training and Development Commission

​​Workplace Training and Development Commission

This UK-wide, policy-led Commission examined the skills system from the employer’s perspective and focused on the needs of adults in the workplace. It covered:

  • Opportunities to support and incentivise businesses to invest in training, upskilling and re-skilling.
  • Developing the skills of adults in the workplace.
  • Practical and pragmatic recommendations for policy development.

The Report makes recommendations for policy makers and employers on how to make the skills system more effective. During the Inquiry, our Commissioners issued a Call for Evidence and a progress report.

Contact Jane Gratton for more information.

Download the report here
The Next Normal - futureproofing the workforce for a post-pandemic world

The Next Normal - futureproofing the workforce for a post-pandemic world

Few events within BCC’s lifetime – with the exception of two world wars – have created business uncertainty on the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic. Well over a year on from the discovery of the virus, it is still having a profound impact on firms up and down the country.

This report, published in partnership with Barclays Life Skills, describes how this pandemic-led uncertainty has affected the ways in which businesses have managed their workforces, and how it may permanently change how they are managed in the future.

Our findings were the result of conversations with Chamber of Commerce members from across the UK.

The hope is that this report’s conclusions can be used by businesses, educators and policymakers alike to understand more about how the UK workforce can be futureproofed so as to remain dynamic, productive and globally competitive.

Download the report here
Business Showcase Days

Business Showcase Days

This national initiative opened the doors of Chambers and businesses to their local communities, providing a chance for people to see first-hand the range of different career paths on offer in local businesses.

Chambers tell us that businesses across the UK are struggling to attract and retain homegrown talent, and that school and college leavers aren’t aware of the job prospects in local firms. Chambers of Commerce are uniquely placed to help their local communities thrive and introduce them to the career opportunities in local companies.

Business Showcase Days also helped Chambers build connections with local schools and colleges and position Chambers at the forefront of harnessing and developing local talent.

​Championing a Flexible Working Culture

​Championing a Flexible Working Culture

The third phase of the campaign will be to support business in the recruitment and retention of a skilled and diverse workforce. Our research found a 39% increase in the number of employees requesting flexible working arrangements compared to two years ago. The flexible working initiative will provide firms with the guidance and resources to create modern, flexible working environments for all employees.

The focus is to enable firms to recruit from a wider talent pool and retain workers who might otherwise leave the business by helping firms establish their own flexible working policies.

Together our campaign will celebrate, support and develop the people at the heart of our business community.

There are numerous ways to get involved, so get in touch with the Chamber team today!

BCC says November Trade data shows imports rebounding as exports remain flat

Looking at the last six months, a clear picture is emerging of significantly lower EU imports to the UK than three years ago, with a smaller reduction in exports to the EU.

BCC:  Stronger GDP growth in November unlikely to be sustained

The latest figures confirmed a significant uptick in growth in November, before the emergence of Omicron and the implementation of Plan B. This is likely to be followed by a modest fall in output in December and January, as consumer caution to socialise and spend, and mounting staff absences limit activity.

BCC says LFT supply must improve to make 5-day isolation effective

Businesses are continuing to tell us they are struggling with high levels of absence due to Covid and will welcome the news it is judged safe to further reduce the isolation period. But too many say that staff are also finding it difficult to get the Lateral Flow Tests they need to prove they can return to work.

BCC  welcomes launch of trade negotiations with India

If agreement can be reached with India on tariff reduction, removing technical barriers to trade in goods and services, and on digital trade it has the best potential of any of the UK’s individual free trade negotiations to date.