Manufacturing still hindered by skills shortages

The
British manufacturing industry is still plagued by skills shortages, according
to a survey of 600 senior manufacturing managers in the UK, France and Germany.

The
NOP report, which comes at a time when British productivity levels are lagging
behind competitor economies, reveals that only UK managers complained about the
standard of school leavers.

British
companies are also less likely to tackle skills shortages themselves by hiring
apprentices, it says.

Only
40 per cent of the companies contacted had hired apprentices in the past two
years, compared with 70 per cent in Germany and 60 per cent in France.

The
EEF, formerly known as the Engineering Employers Federation, which commissioned
the survey, called on the Government to increase funding for research and
development in its forthcoming spending review.

It
said the recent revamp of the government’s apprenticeship scheme had not done
enough to make it attractive for business, and attacked the programme’s
"inadequate and poorly-structured funding".

Responsibility
for continuing skills shortages lay with the Government as well as business,
the EEF said.

By Daniel Thomas

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