News in brief: Brexit, EU, upskilling, staff

News in brief
News in brief

SMEs encouraged to collaborate over Brexit fears

Almost two thirds of the UK’s SMEs (60%) have admitted that a possible exit from the EU is affecting their long-term growth plans, according to same day national distribution company CitySprint, which questioned more than 1,000 small firms.

The impending European Union referendum (27%) is the biggest uncertainty facing businesses in 2016, followed by UK political upheaval (26%), skills/talent shortages (19%) and the rising costs associated with finding the right people (17%).

Collaboration remains a key business survival tool for smaller employers in response to these threats; 85% of the UK’s SMEs (some 4.5 million firms) are collaborating with other businesses, sharing skills, expertise and mutual networks to drive their business forward.

UK businesses urged to upskill staff to take on overseas markets

UK businesses are being urged by the Institute of Export to invest in upskilling their employees so they can capitalise on the wealth of opportunities in international trade to increase their productivity, profitability and competitive advantage.

The IOE aims to professionalise global business by providing recognised, formal qualifications in international trade. Its range of courses include a BSc (Hons) Management Practice – International Trade with Plymouth University; an MSc in International Trade, Strategy and Operations in conjunction with the University of Warwick; and a Foundation Degree in Professional Practice in International Trade in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University.

All three degree programmes have a January 2016 intake, while there is rolling entry to the IOE’s certificate and diploma courses, all of which are designed to fit around a full-time career and are delivered through distance learning or part and full-time study.

IOE director general Lesley Batchelor OBE commented: “As a professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade, our suite of programmes provides a viable, cost effective and flexible opportunity for higher educational study.”