Manufacturers fear skills shortage when upturn comes

British manufacturers fear that a lack of training by employers during the recession will lead to a skills gap when the upturn comes, according to an industry body.

In a survey carried out by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, 55% of companies said they were concerned about their ability to attract and retain skilled staff in preparation for the upturn. Companies which have already begun looking at their post-recession employment needs have seen their plans threatened by doubt over the future of government-funded training budgets, the EEF said.

EEF has called on the government to clarify the funding for vital skills programmes beyond the end of the year. Lee Hopley, head of economic policy at EEF, said: “The current position is untenable, and companies need a clear commitment to maintain funding in future years. Manufacturers are taking a long-term view of their skills and training needs, but these efforts are being stymied by the lack of clarity on funding for key programmes after this year.”

EEF’s call follows a statement from the Learning and Skills Council last week requesting clarification of the funding of Train to Gain and apprenticeship programmes.

Last month the Learning and Skills Council admitted Train to Gain was in danger of running out of money.

EEF carried out the survey of 687 companies in April 2009.

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