Business group warns of skills crisis

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that recent announcements of an apprentice levy will not be enough to help UK businesses recruit the high-skilled workers they need.

The CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey looked at the needs of 310 companies, to determine their priorities, after the Government pledged to deliver 3 million apprenticeships over the next five years.

Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director, said: ‘The new levy announced in the Budget may guarantee funding for more apprenticeships, but it’s unlikely to equate to higher quality or deliver the skills that industry needs. Levies on training already exist in the construction sector where two-thirds of employers are already reporting skills shortages’.

She added: ‘Employers have a critical role in upskilling the workforce, but part of the deal must be for real business control of apprenticeships to meet their needs on the ground’.

The survey showed that 68% of businesses expect their need for staff with higher level skills to grow in the years ahead, and 55% said that they fear being unable to access and recruit individuals with those skills.

Throughout all business sectors, engineering, science, hi-tech, construction and manufacturing all showed strong demand for a highly skilled workforce.

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