UK’s leading high-tech manufacturing sector trails in skills

The
DTI says the UK leads the G7 in its share of high-tech manufacturing exports,
but workers in the industry still need more training and development.

Secretary
of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, said UK Competitiveness
Indicator figures show the UK as a world leader in high-tech manufacturing, but
workers’ skills are often below par.

"UK
workers are relatively less skilled than their European counterparts," she
said.

"We
are taking action as a government to make the curriculum more relevant to
today’s workplace. I challenge companies to improve training and development
opportunities for their managers too."

The
figures show that knowledge-based industries such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals
and telecoms were responsible for 54 per cent of the UK’s high-tech
manufacturing output – higher than Italy, Canada and the US, and similar to
France and Japan.

UK
growth in GDP per head is second only to the US, and the UK has the highest
level of venture capital investment as a percentage of GDP in the EU.

The
UK also has the largest percentage of business connected to digital networks in
the G7 – recently overtaking the US.

Hewitt
said: "These statistics confirm what we already know – that British
high-tech manufacturers lead the world and, more than ever, this sector is
crucial to the success of the British economy."

By Quentin Reade

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