Leaders push for skills gap strategy

Union and business leaders united to call for action to tackle the skills

Tony Dubbins, general secretary of the Graphical Paper and Media Union urged
the Government to introduce a "statutory framework to ensure the training
agenda is driven forward".

He told delegates he believed legislation requiring employers to provide
training is the only solution. "We cannot solve these problems just
through exhortations. What is really required is a statutory framework to
skills training," he said.

"The lack of a training strategy leads to the poaching of staff which
merely transfers the problem."

Chris Humphries, director general of British Chambers of Commerce, said
tackling the problem did not simply mean more graduate recruitment.

He said the challenge was to end a situation where the bottom 20 per cent of
the UK workforce lacks basic numeracy and literacy skills.

"They are providing a drag on the UK’s economy and unless we address it
we have little chance of keeping up with the rest of the world."

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