Investment the only way to overcome skills gap obstacle, says Blair

Prime
Minster Tony Blair has admitted that the nation’s skills gap is worryingly
large and that it can only be addressed through investment in both education
and skills.

In
a speech to the CBI’s conference, Blair explained how the Government was
investing heavily to solve the problem, but that it was still a significant
obstacle to British firms.

"The
gap between us and our competitors remains worryingly large in key areas and
this gap can only be filled by investment and education," he said.

He
called adult basic skills a key national priority and said that the Government
aims to reduce the number of adults without basic literacy and numerically
skills by at least 750,000 within three years.

Blair
pointed out that education spending is rising every year as a proportion of
national income and highlighted the introduction of specialist schools, city
academies and new vocational education to help fill the skills gap.

He
also revealed that the Government had set key targets to bring 75 per cent of
14-year-olds up to standard in the basics of English, maths and ICT by 2005 and
to get 50 per cent of young people into higher education by 2010.

By Ross Wigham

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