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Unions have stated that prisons face difficulties in recruiting sufficient officers due to a rise in job vacancies.

This is because, as per recruiters’ estimates, job advertisements have hit a new record in the lead-up to Christmas.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, driving instructors, forklift driver drivers, and prison officers are some of the most in-demand jobs.

Due to problems in the supply chain, however, construction jobs saw a drop in demand.

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According to REC data, prisons were the top employer with high demand in November and October, with prison officers being advertised at 13%.

Prison Officers Association (POA union) stated that prisons have severe problems with recruitment. After a pay review, Mick Pimblett assistant general secretary of POA Mick Pimblett reported that “staff are voting their feet and fleeing” from the jails.

He said that the prison system is at “the brink of collapse” as it approaches Christmas.

Berwyn Prison in North Wales was listed by the POA as an example. 134 prisoners officers left during the last three months.

After the coronavirus restrictions were lifted on prisoner mixing, there has been an increase of violence among inmates and self-harm, according to Mr Pimblett.

He said that the increased number of prisoner is due to the crown courts processing the cases once again following postponements caused by coronavirus lockdowns.

A spokesperson for HM Prison Service said that the estate’s vacancies had been stable over six months. These figures also include recruiting to HMP Five Wells prison in the New Year.

In October, the HM Prison Service announced that all staff earning less than £24,000 will receive a £250 pay rise, and all staff yet to reach the top of their pay band will continue to receive progression pay of up to 5%.

The REC data showed that driving instructor vacancies saw the greatest jump. They rose about a quarter of a percent.

According to a spokesperson from REC, the rising demand for driving lessons was probably due to the pent-up demand caused by the pandemic of driving tests and lessons.

Karen Bransgrove is the general manager at Driving Instructors Association. She said that although she hadn’t seen more ads, there was a lot demand for lessons and tests.

She said that there was a large backlog. Additionally, the number of instructors also fell.

“Lots and lots of people chose to retire early, or drop out,” [of driving instruction]”Due to the pandemic,” Ms Bransgrove stated.

Loveday Ryder (CEO of Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency) stated that it is doing everything possible to ensure services return to normal.

“I understand that learners want to take the test right away, but candidates need to make sure they are well prepared so don’t hurry to do it,” she said.

Learners should not take the test if they feel confident that they will pass, as more than half of applicants fail.

This will prevent additional tests from being added and prolong the wait for retests.

The REC data also showed a dramatic rise in vacancies of forklift truck drivers.

A shortage of HGV drivers is an ongoing problem in the UK. This has been blamed by the logistics sector on Covid and Brexit.

A shortage of drivers for forklift trucks is another problem, according to the UK Warehousing Association. It was also related to Brexit.

Clare Bottle (the association’s chief executive) stated that 34% of drivers forklift trucks were EU citizens prior to Brexit. However, many have returned to their homelands.

The labour shortages in the following years caused driver salaries to rise between 20-30% and was not sustainable for many warehousing firms, most of which were small or medium-sized.

This was despite the fact that these businesses already had a low margin of operation, 60-70% being already absorbed by staffing.

Although these businesses put up prices temporarily to help their retailers survive, Ms. Bottle stated that the price increases could eventually be passed on to consumers and increase inflationary pressures.

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According to her, in the long term the industry needs to be more attractive for younger women and men.

Ms. Bottle stated that warehouse work was “dominated by older, mostly male” people. “We need to address our image problems.”

The government spokeswoman said that they are monitoring the supply of labour and working closely with sector leaders to find ways to ease specific pinch points. The challenges faced by countries all over the world are similar.

We want employers to invest in UK workers, not rely on foreign labour. People across the country can retrain, learn new skills, and return to work with our Plan for jobs.

The government offers training and career options as well as wage rises and investments to all industries to increase the attractiveness of UK workers.

The REC data indicated that job ads rose in most parts of the country in the period 25 October to 7 November. However, there were some areas where demand was lower.

The UK’s construction sector has seen a boom during the pandemic, due to factors such as increased house sales and a greater desire for home improvement.

Covid also witnessed a worldwide squeeze in supply chains as building material costs rise rapidly.

Neil Carberry, the chief executive at REC said that adverts for jobs in construction saw a decrease last week because supply issues had “constrained” the sector’s ability to perform to its maximum capacity.

Advertising for painters, decorators fell more than 17%. Meanwhile, demand for roofers and plasterers dropped, as did that for bricklayers, bricklayers, and carpenters.

The Federation of Master Builders stated that the decline in advertisements “may reflect the overall cooling of market after a 24-year high in construction activity earlier this year, as lockdown restrictions eased”.

Brian Berry, the Federation of Master Builders’ chief executive, stated that “Small and local builders face lengthy delays with 89% of them having to pause work due to shortages of materials and skills.”

“These [REC]Figures could indicate that builders may not be able or unwilling to do more work when skills and material are scarce, creating uncertainty for those seeking new jobs.


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