The challenge facing the UK is immense if it wants to compete in a global economy, according to Mike Campbell, director of strategy and research at the Sector Skills Development Agency.
Campbell told delegates at the agency’s ‘Meeting Future Skills Needs’ conference in London that if the lack of skills was not addressed soon, UK residents could not hope to maintain their present standards of living.
The World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Competitiveness Report puts the UK in 17th place, behind all our major competitors except Germany.
“Skills are critical to both employment and productivity,” Campbell said. “We are not world-class and this is unacceptable.”
He warned that there will soon be a collapse in the number of new workers entering the jobs market and said companies should develop older workers.
“There is going to be a big increase in older workers, yet these are the people we are least likely to train,” he said. “In fact, 75% of our 2020 workforce is in work now – we should concentrate on them.”