A few months ago it was reported in the local Isle of Man news that there were 64 healthcare job vacancies left unfilled, and only 12 people with a background in healthcare looking for work on the Island. Many of you may be surprised to read this, but we're not.

The 'Skills Gap' as it has been coined, has been a problem on the Isle of Man for many years - a severe shortage of skilled individuals to meet specific employment market demands.  Healthcare, manufacturing, ICT - these are all sectors that are crying out for a larger trained workforce.  Whilst the Isle of Man's economy has enjoyed continuous growth over the past 10 years, our future prosperity is very much dependant on us addressing the skills gap in our local workforce.

So what is being done to combat this shortage?

Last year, the Isle of Man Government's Employability Group highlighted a clear need to "provide better access through a website to careers education, advice and guidance and labour market information". In direct response to this, PDMS launched employed.im through their PDMS Employed platform in November 2013.

employed.im, which is free for all members and employers, is a jobs and careers portal for anyone interested in job vacancies, career and training opportunities, and related news and events in the Isle of Man. Used by students, teachers, training providers, job seekers, job changers and employers, it is fast becoming the go to resource for anybody with an interest in our local labour market. It's been a year since its official launch, and individual member numbers now stand at over 3,000 users, with nearly 200 employers registered to post job vacancies.

The aim of employed.im, which is a central hub for all employment related activities on the island, is to promote a unified approach to address the Isle of Man's skills gap and connect individuals to opportunities.

Individual members can browse resources and read helpful careers information, find out about employment and training opportunities, create and store their CV and CPD records, practice their interview techniques with our "self-interview" video feature, set up vacancy email alerts and even message employers directly about opportunities.

Employers on the other hand, benefit from being able to advertise their job vacancies, apprenticeships and work placement opportunities to all employed.im members, promote their company with a searchable business profile, and submit sector related content and resources for publication on the site. And all for free.

Ever evolving, we are continuously looking for public, private and third sector organisations to engage with employed.im, and to collaborate with us to provide even more content and industry specific resources to our growing user community. Other opportunities include integrating employed.im with recruitment, sector or role specific promotional campaigns - not only to attract candidates already on the Island, but to encourage our graduates to return home and to bring new talent to our shores.

A very real problem that our local employment market is facing is the mismatch of current students' career choices over the availability of jobs. The Isle of Man sectors which face the greatest workforce challenges need to clearly demonstrate to our students why they should consider a career in their field. Without more information, access to better resources and promotions, this shortage won't translate into future candidates.

One year on

This past year our team has visited Isle of Man schools, given talks and presentations at national and international events, supported small and large local businesses, hosted employment and HR related seminars, and collaborated with many different organisations and charities - such as Junior Achievement, the Department of Economic Development, Search and Select Recruitment, the Department of Education and Children, Hamblin Employment Group, the Needle and the Isle of Man College. As a result, employed.im is becoming a key resource for secondary schools' employment education, through Junior Achievement Isle of Man's 'Get a Job' initiative.

By the time you're reading this we will have just launched a new employed.im website homepage - which expands our 'real life' features of successful career and work experience stories, giving you an insight into the career path others have chosen or are aspiring to go into. We've also been approached to discuss how employed.im could work in the UK and Scotland to join up disparate local authority resources, initiatives and employment objectives. This is all fantastic news, but there's still more we - and you - could do.

If you're an employer, and you haven't already, you should make the most of this fantastic opportunity and get involved. Create an account for free, tell our members about your company, post your jobs and contribute to your sector by submitting your news, events and resources to the employed.im team.

Individuals - sign up for free and start to take control of your own career. Explore the opportunities on the Island that you don't yet know about, and get yourself noticed by publishing your CV and video - or simply take advantage of our free career resources.

Training providers, recruitment companies, associations and institutes - do you have a presence on employed.im? If not, why not? It's free and you're missing out.

With so many more exciting developments to come, have you joined the employed.im conversation?

To sign up, visit www.employed.im.

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