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Comment: Gaps in training that hold Britain back

first_imgComment: Gaps in training that hold Britain backOn 11 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article If the UK is to remain a major independent economic and political power inthe new century, and if living standards are to be enhanced, it is crucialBritain develops and maintains a highly skilled workforce.Deficiencies in skills and training have been a source of weakness for theBritish economy throughout the 20th century. In a survey conducted by NOP forthe Institute of Directors last year, 65 per cent of respondents stated thatwhile recruiting over the past 12 months their company had experienced ashortage in the availability of skilled people. Many employers feel employeeshave lower skill levels than are necessary to meet their business objectives.Almost half of the participants in our survey considered they faced thisproblem.Addressing skill shortages, skill gaps and other recruitment difficulties isultimately the employer’s responsibility. British employers invest over £10bn ayear on training, and our survey showed 97 per cent of respondents provide itin some form. However, the Government must ensure school-leavers have a basicmastery of the 3Rs and the generic skills needed in the workplace. We welcomeDavid Blunkett’s emphasis on the need to improve literacy and numeracystandards. However, the Government also needs to improve basic educationalstandards among adults. Moreover, it needs to reconsider its approach topost-16 and higher education. While the UK has the highest proportion ofgraduates in the European Union, we have a relatively low proportion ofemployees with intermediate level vocational qualifications. There should be nofurther publicly funded expansion of higher education. The Government shouldconcentrate its resources on expanding the number of individuals withintermediate level qualifications.The Government can help British business secure skilled personnel through anappropriate immigration policy. Additionally, it should keep the tax andregulatory burden low so firms will have more resources for investment ingeneral, and training in particular.Finally, the Government must maintain a stable macro-economic framework. Theboom and bust cycle engenders acute skill shortages and bottlenecks andjeopardises investment in training. It is partly for this reason the IoDsupports the Government’s decision to grant operational independence for theBank of England and opposes premature entry into the euro. Britain’s newmonetary system shows every sign of delivering the macro-economic stability thebusiness community has been craving and should not be jettisoned.If the Government can deliver these five policies, British business can meetthe skills challenges that lie ahead. Over to you, Mr Blair. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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