UK is closing the skills gap with competitors

Government
figures released today on international skills comparisons show that the UK is
at last closing the gap with its major competitors at the intermediate and
technician skill levels which are vital for productivity.

Analysis
of changes in skills levels in the UK, US, France, Germany and Singapore
between 1994 and 2003, shows that the UK had the highest growth rate for
qualifications at level two (equivalent to five GSCEs grades A-C) and above.

The
UK is also closing the gap with Germany and the US at level three (A-level
equivalent) and is already ahead of all the other countries except the US at
level four (degree level) and above. However, the report highlights the large
gap still to be closed if the UK is to compete well with the major economic
powers.

Speaking
one year on since the launch of the Government’s Skills Strategy, education and
skills secretary, Charles Clarke, said: “We have the building blocks,
frameworks and infrastructure all in place to begin to close skills gaps and
increase our competitiveness.”

The
CBI, TUC and Small Business Council have all confirmed their support for the
Government’s Skills Strategy.

Clarke
said the UK now had the consensus needed “to back our call for everyone with an
interest in improving skills to start delivering and making real progress on
the ground”.

By Michael Millar

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