Northampton workers at risk of losing jobs to machines set to be trained new skills

The borough council agreed the motion to prepare to help train workers at The Guildhall last week
The borough council agreed the motion to prepare to help train workers at The Guildhall last week

Northampton workers who may be at risk of losing their jobs to automated machines are set to be given future training to help broaden their skill set.

The town has a large proportion of warehousing and transport as its employment base, and according to Northampton Borough Council this means that the introduction of new technology and automation in the future could equate to 37 per cent of the workforce fearing for their job.

Now the borough council has pledged to work with other bodies such as the University of Northampton, local colleges and industry bodies and organisations to look ahead at potential future training for Northampton based employees.

A motion, which was brought forward by former Mayor and current Labour councillor Gareth Eales, called on the authority to begin preparation work on identifying finances to allow for the ‘upskilling’ of workers.

Councillor Eales writes in his motion: “The technological advancements of recent decades have much in common with the effects of the Industrial Revolution in the latter part of the 18th century.

“Specifically, both movements accelerated the displacement of workers by machines that could perform tasks faster, more accurately and 24/7.

“While technology enables business owners to reduce overheads by downsizing their workforce, individuals whose skillsets are now obsolete have limited options for employment if their current jobs are eliminated.”

The motion was seconded by Labour leader Danielle Stone, who said: “The argument here is whether we are going to be proactive or reactive, and be ahead of the curve instead of being victims of change. We have seen communities such as Corby really damaged and they have taken decades to recover.

“We need to take charge of the process, and we need to help our employees now and the employees of the future to come to terms with what may happen.”

The motion was agreed at full council last Monday (November 5) at The Guildhall.