Coronavirus: ‘Urgent need’ to retrain Isle of Man workers – BBC News

There is an “urgent need” to retrain parts of the Manx workforce following the coronavirus pandemic, the island’s Chamber of Commerce said.

President Caren Pegg warned some firms would not be able “to support all of their workforce” as they did before.

The Manx government has pledged to create up to 1,000 retraining and employment opportunities as part of a £100m Economic Recovery Fund.

Unemployment currently stands at 1,133 – 2.6% of the workforce.

At the height of Covid-19 lockdown, unemployment peaked at 1,347 in April.

Ms Pegg said the phasing out of emergency support schemes would be “a real test period” for businesses.

Changes to the workforce are “somewhat inevitable for some businesses” in the new climate, she said, and some employees will “need to have other opportunities and options for earning income”.

Last month, Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan told Tywnald that while the government’s emergency financial support had “done its work”, the island was “still facing a great deal of uncertainty”.

A salary support scheme rolled out at the start of the crisis “was always intended to provide temporary respite during the most difficult of times”, he said.

The scheme was closed to anyone newly unemployed from 1 August and will end completely on 20 September.

Ms Pegg said the government’s pledge to “work with industry to create upskill and reskill programmes” was “exactly what needs to be done”.

“It has to be a collaboration between industry and government to try and make sure that’s done as effectively as possible,” she continued.

“Adaptable and flexible” businesses were “going to be the ones that navigate what are going to be unchartered waters as we try and recover from the pandemic”, she added.

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