Stage 1 included desk research, a literature review and the use of an online survey with the SME. The survey was designed to explore the skills and qualifications held by existing staff, the current & future skills and qualifications requirements as well as labour supply gaps. The impact of skills and qualifications development on the business outcomes of SMEs was also be examined through a range of “closed” questions, the preliminary report delivered in April 2016.
Stage 2 of the project aims to develop the findings of Phase 1 through a mixture of interviews / focus groups /dissemination events. The interviews will be conducted with SMEs that indicated in the survey that they would be happy to speak in more depth about why they responded in a particular way to questions in the survey, as well as other relevant SMEs. Other higher level stakeholders will also be engaged to explore these issues, as well as the policy implications of the results.
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