Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Miliband warns on lack of IT skills

Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to say that nothing would determine Britain's future "more than the skills of our young people"

Britain's future prospects in the digital and IT sectors are being jeopardised by a dramatic slump in the number of apprenticeships, Labour leader Ed Miliband will warn.

On a visit to Tech City in London, Mr Miliband will say that firms were having to recruit skilled workers from abroad while the number of IT apprenticeships had fallen from 18,520 to 13,750 in the last year alone.

He will announce that Labour has recruited former BBC Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin to head a new digital skills taskforce, working with schools colleges and employers to address the skills gap.

"Businesses need to be able to recruit talent and plug the skill gaps by hiring from overseas. But both they and government have a responsibility to ensure that in the future we have the skills needed for Britain to succeed in the future, " he is expected to say.

"Nothing will determine Britain's future more than the skills of our young people. Those skills are the route to higher-paying jobs and to providing business with the talent they need to compete in the world."

Ms Philbin said: "Britain has led the world in new technologies for decades but we need to make sure we do everything to maintain that success by training and developing the talents that our country needs."

She said her report would be a completely independent piece of work which will be shared with all the political parties.

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