Skill improvements ‘vital for UK economy’

Improving
workforce and managerial skills levels are vital for the success of
manufacturing firms and the UK economy as a whole.

Research
by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), claims manufacturing will
shrink to around 10 per cent of UK GDP and 5 per cent of employment by 2050 if
present trends continue.

At
present, manufacturing accounts for 20 per cent of Britain’s overall output and
16 per cent of direct employment.

Richard
Brooks, IPPR Research Fellow in Economics, welcomed the Government’s recent
commitment set out in the Skills White Paper to raising the age restriction on
Modern Apprenticeships (MAs), but criticised a lack of detail regarding the
delivery of MAs.

"There
is little detail in the recent Skills White Paper about how this will be
achieved and what funds will be made available," he said. "Modern
Apprenticeships are particularly appropriate for the manufacturing sector,
where there are good quality courses and a clear need for people with these
sorts of skills.

"The
DTI and DfES should give priority to the manufacturing Sector Skills Councils
and pilot generous projects in this area," added Brooks. 

The
key recommendations of the report are:


The existing age limit on manufacturing sector MAs should be lifted without
delay.


The Government must maintain the attractive UK corporation tax regime in the
face of emerging fiscal pressures if business investment is to recover


Firms should not be compelled to increase their levels of employee training,
but should receive more effective help in planning their training needs.

By Michael Millar

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