Skills gap fuels manufacturing crisis

Skills
shortages in UK manufacturing are seeing the sector shrink faster than rival
industrialised countries, according to a new study.

The
CBI report UK manufacturing: Strategy into Action, says there is a need to
ensure skills levels are maintained to instil confidence in future investment,
but the UK has the greatest proportion of adults with low basic literacy and
numeracy in the industrialised world.

The
study says that, in the workplace, this translates into a high proportion of
low-level skills and a considerably lower proportion of intermediate skills
than in France and Germany. British productivity in the sector is also
consistently lower than in the US.

Nick
Brayshaw, chairman of the CBI’s Manufacturing Council, said: "The UK must
maintain a critical mass of manufacturing firms to sustain local suppliers,
skills and scientific and technological capability. If we don’t we will
jeopardise a sector that provides four million jobs and contributes £150bn a
year to GDP growth."

The
report also blames the Government for compounding the problem with the build up
of regulation, increases in business taxation and the failure to improve
transport links.

The
number of employees in the manufacturing industry has dropped from seven
million 20 years ago to 3.8 million.

By Michael Millar

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