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Richard Lambert calls for sense of urgency in implementing Leitch

The Director-General of the CBI has called for more investment in skills and training in his speech to the TUC conference today. Richard Lambert told delegates that skills and education should be a key area for policy makers ensuring Britain remains competitive in the global market.

Addressing the conference in Brighton, Mr Lambert said: “Those of us who support free trade and open markets have an obligation at the same time to address the urgent need to strengthen the UKs pool of skills, so that as many people as possible in our society have the chance to share in the job opportunities that come with pro-growth policies.

“Thats why the CBI is keenly supporting the Skills Pledge, and is also calling for a greater sense of urgency from the government in addressing the challenges set out last year by Lord Leitch.”

And Mr Lambert added:”We know that government, businesses and individuals need to be investing more – and investing more smartly – to raise our game in whats become a much more intensely competitive global labour market.”

The Director-General said that whilst the UK’s social policies and flexible labour markets compared favourably, there was more to be done in the area of skills and training and highlighted the work done by union learning representatives as one of the ways forward.

“Union-learning reps do great work up and down the land in helping their colleagues to gain new skills and experiences. Just last week, I visited FirstGroup, the transport company, and heard how representatives from the Transport and General Workers Union were working with managers to refresh existing skills and bring new ones to the workplace, with tailored courses ranging from computer literacy to conversational Spanish.

“The programme, I was told, now has a momentum of its own, and has brought a new sense of partnership to the workplace. Right now, around three-fifths of FirstGroups 20,000 bus drivers have access to the scheme. Next year, they all will.”

Yesterday Gordon Brown announced an increase in funding for the Union Learning Fund to £15.5 million.

Stay with FE News for all the latest from the 2007 TUC Conference.

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