How are the Channel Islands preparing for the future of work?

  • Serena Sandhu spoke to local companies about how they're preparing for the future of work.

Up to 30% of jobs in the Channel Islands are at risk from automation by 2035, according to a report by PWC.

That equates to around 16,000 jobs in Jersey and 10,000 in Guernsey.

These statistics prompted Deputy Max Andrews to propose that a Skills Development Fund be established in Jersey, which was approved in early February.

The money will help workers on the island learn new skills that are adaptable and useful in a more technological and digital world.

The project is designed to help mainly lower-paid jobs, as well as roles in finances, that are most at risk in the Channel Islands.

This, according to PWC's Leyla Yildirim, means there is "potential for a widening gap in society" if the Bailiwicks do not prepare for the future.

The company is already starting to invest in upskilling its workforce so that it is ready and able to work in harmony with automation.

Managing director, Evelyn Brady, says its aim is to "use technology to drive efficiencies and to drive quality."

Guernsey Post is building a new £1.8m parcel sorting machine which can process up to 6,000 parcels an hour Credit: ITV Channel TV

But it is already the case that local businesses, such as Guernsey Post, are starting to pivot its resources towards automation in a bid to cut costs.

Building work has begun on a new £1.8m parcel sorting machine which can process up to 6,000 parcels an hour.

The decision to modernise means the company can reduce its staff numbers by 10% this year.

But other local companies think our islands are already doing plenty to prepare for the future of work.

Owner of Voisins Department Store, Gerald Voisin, has called Deputy Andrews' Skills Development Fund "totally unnecessary."

He said: "I am all about encouraging businesses to invest but I think they are already doing that and the idea that we are suddenly going to have 16,000 people unemployed is frankly barking."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...