Peter Mandelson used his keynote address at the Labour Party Conference today to call on employers to continue to train and re-skill staff ready for the economic upturn.
The secretary of state for business, innovation and skills said the Labour Party would continue to make sure training was treated as a high priority as the UK emerged from the recession.
He said: “With Labour in office there will be no cap on talent in this country. Britain gains when every person who is capable can get the chance to go to university, get an apprenticeship or a new skill.
“But to make this possible in a tough public spending environment we all need to contribute – government, individuals and employers.”
To support vital industries in the UK, Mandelson outlined more support for the manufacturing and car industries, including extra funding for an additional 100,000 cars and vans under the car scrappage scheme.
He added the government would “stand behind” car workers whose jobs were under threat at manufacturing plants at risk of closure.
He said: “In support of our car industry, this government will stand behind Vauxhall workers in Ellesmere Port and Luton where the workforce themselves have been the main driver of change. And the same goes for Jaguar Land Rover too.
Mandelson also emphasised his desire for Britain to become “an innovation nation”.
He said: “We want closer links between businesses and universities so that good ideas don’t stop at the research lab or the library door. We’re one of the world’s biggest investors in research and development. But we still do the R better than the D and that must change.
“We’ve committed three quarters of a billion pounds to new manufacturing innovation in Britain. This is us giving public support to new technologies without which they may never get off the drawing board.”