From education to employment

Skills Summit Looks For Skills Solutions

Employers need to play a major role in the developing workforce. This was the message delivered at the Learning and Skills Council’s Skills Summit 2005. Chris Banks, Chairman of the LSC, said: “The productivity and competitiveness of our nation is dependent on the skills of our workforce.”

The Skills Summit event provided employers, Government and key partners with a unique platform to discuss and find solutions to tackling UK skills challenges, including those posed by emerging Asia-Pacific economies. “Today, new initiatives have been unveiled that will inspire employers to add their investment to the public funding,” Banks said. “Only by working together can we ensure that young people and adults in our country have the knowledge and skills matching the best in the world.”

England faces significant skills gaps in technician, advanced craft, skilled trade and associate professional skills. The National Employer Training Programme will be implemented out across the country early next year, aims to encourage more employers to get involved in workforce development to help raise the nations” skills levels. After the release of the Government’s White papers on the subject, employers have been encouraged to look into apprenticeship schemes as a way to add to the workforce.

“Two years on from first skills White Paper, we should take stock and celebrate the significant progress that has been made in addressing the skills challenges we face,” said Secretary of State and Education Ruth Kelly. “We also need to look forward and recognise the challenges ahead and agree our priorities in tackling them.”

Key note speaker Ian Smith, from Oracle UK who co-sponsored the event, also encouraged businesses to look get more involved in the developing workforce. “It is good to see some “pioneer” UK companies are acknowledging the need to build the skills of their workforce if the UK is to remain competitive in the global economy, but this attitude must become universal if the country is to prosper,” he said. “We hope that through our sponsorship of the Skills Summit 2005, we emphasise that training and skills development are integral to every company in this country and their future success.”

Kate Watkins

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