MP Andrew Turner has called on Isle of Wight businesses and educators to join forces in a bid to tackle skill shortages.
At a first meeting of a new industry group set up by Mr Turner held at Inflight Peripherals offices in Calbourne, electronics and advanced manufacturing companies voiced their concerns about the lack of qualified local staff.
Despite almost three times more young people on the Isle of Wight claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance than in the South East, the majority of the 11 firms at the meeting said they were forced to recruit people from the mainland, or leave posts unfilled, due to shortages of suitably trained or qualified applicants from the Isle of Wight.
Mr Turner said: "It is apparent there are serious concerns that Island youngsters are not properly prepared for some of the job opportunities available. That is certainly not their fault but we need to make sure it is put right."
He added: "It does bear out what some companies had already told me. Leading training providers were also present at the meeting and will be looking at ways in which they can address some of these issues.
"We also discussed ways in which the companies can engage with local people, especially youngsters, to encourage them to prepare themselves for the opportunities that exist.
"Youth unemployment is high and we must do all we can to make sure jobs available on the Island can be filled by local youngsters."
According to latest figures, the number of people aged 18 to 24 claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance on the Isle of Wight was 175, or 1.7 per cent of the total number of 18 to 24 year olds.
That was almost three times higher than the South East figure of 0.6 per cent and higher than the national figure of 1.2 per cent.
Chairman of the new group, Inflight Peripherals managing director Geoff Underwood, said: "The meeting was very productive and I was very happy with the level of attendance.
"It is clear from this meeting that, by pooling our resources and working together there is a lot we can do as a group to resolve the skills and training issues that we face on the island.
"There is such a diversity of engineering companies on the Island doing quite amazing things and we need to get the word out that this can be an exciting and rewarding career path."
The group will be meeting regularly and anyone interested in taking part should call Andrew Turner’s office on 01983 530808 or email email@example.com