A plan to address the Isle of Man’s current ‘skills shortage’ has been backed by Tynwald.

The three-year plan sets out four goals, including identifying employer needs and strengthening the opportunities available to gain and develop skills in demand.

A spokesperson from Isle of Man Government said: ‘This will help to build a secure, vibrant and sustainable future for the island.

‘The Skills Strategy is a key part of the Government’s vision to deliver a strong and diverse economy and outstanding lifelong learning and development opportunities for all.’

The long-term plan has been developed by a cross-functional ‘skills board’, which includes government, business representatives and educational providers.

Sarah Maltby MHK, political member for the DESC, said: ‘As the skills landscape evolves, so must our workforce, to meet the needs of the economy.

‘This important strategy supports lifelong learners so they can access the right skills and qualifications to meet existing and future employers’ needs.’

The strategy outlines how a data-led approach will be used to ‘identify skill gaps, help forecast future needs to support businesses and promote lifelong learning by developing new pathways’.

Tackling the skills shortage is an Isle of Man Government priority, as it aims to create and fill 5,000 new jobs by 2032.

Peter Reid, the skills board’s independent chair, said: ‘Businesses in a rapidly evolving environment are powered by the talent and dedication of employees.

‘The growth of the skills and workforce needed now, and in the future, are the foundation of building a secure, vibrant and sustainable future for our island.’

The island’s Chamber of Commerce has also backed the three-year plan, with the skills board consisting of three Chamber representatives - CEO Rebecca George, Talent Action Group chair Kelley Corlett and Claire Milne, a member of the Talent Action Group.

A spokesperson from the Chamber of Commerce claimed that the Chamber was the ‘catalyst’ for the creation of the skills board.

They said: ‘It stemmed from a growing frustration back in 2022 when members in all sectors reported difficulties when trying to recruit skilled employees. This was inhibiting business growth, affecting customer service and putting strain on employees.

‘An initial approach was made by Chamber to the Chief Minister early last year, and since then a concept that could work for business, employees and government has been created.’

Commenting on the Tynwald decision, Chamber CEO Rebecca George said: ‘This is good news for our members and all employers on the island.

‘Chamber has played an important role in the development of the board and the strategy and we are keen to continue our support now that it has the backing of Tynwald, especially in relation to gathering industry data and identifying future skills needs.

‘With AI hurtling towards us, the need for unlearning, relearning and upskilling will be a key factor in future life and work.

‘We need to support current businesses and employees to transition and ensure that those joining the workforce, or currently in education, can keep their learning and skills topped up throughout their careers.’