Belfast Telegraph

Firms voice fears over skilled workers shortage

Most firms expect to increase the number of highly skilled jobs in the next few years, but they fear there will be a lack of suitably qualified workers to fill them, a study has found.

The CBI said companies continue to voice concern about a lack of skilled candidates, and view careers advice given to young people as "overwhelmingly poor".

A survey of 322 businesses found that over half highlighted a lack of candidates with appropriate qualifications.

Josh Hardie, the CBI's deputy director general, said: "Skills have to be the beating heart of the UK's industrial strategy - it's the best growth strategy a country can have.

"More high-skilled opportunities are good news for our future and a sign we can make progress on productivity, but this is tempered by the growing urgency around skills shortages.

"Too often political meddling and piecemeal reform have been the over-riding feature of our skills system.

"Growing our skills base needs a greater focus on what skills provision actually achieves for a person or business, instead of just the existence of training or apprenticeships being judged a success."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "As the Education Secretary set out to businesses last week, we need a skills revolution for success in a Brexit Britain. We've already transformed the higher education system but there is more work to do to improve technical education so young people have the skills and knowledge they need for success in the workplace.

"The introduction of T-Levels will be the next stage in this journey - a gold standard for technical and professional excellence.

"Offered alongside apprenticeships, they will form the basis of our new technical education system."

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