Industry conference urges government to support skills

Posted on 11 Feb 2011 by The Manufacturer

Manufacturers have called for more government action today to ensure apprenticeships are focused where they are most needed.

The New Apprenticeship Agenda Conference, attended by ministers and industry representatives, rallied heads of manufacturing together to voice the measures that need to be taken in order to get the most out Apprenticeship funding.

Terry Watts, CEO of Proskills, sector skills council for process manufacturing, said: “Apprentices are absolutely critical for the future of Britain. They represent the way forward in ensuring that vital skills are not lost from industry within the next 10-15 years. Industry has lost the habit of encouraging apprentices into their companies and boards are failing to see the vast opportunities and benefits apprenticeships can offer.”

The conference announced that skills shortages are costing the UK £118m in lost productivity, with 10,000 higher skilled recruits needed each year to cover growth and retirements.

Mr Watts continued: “For a long time we have agreed with the Government’s position but now we need more than words, we need action. Government has a tendency to work out what its problems are and implement the solution top-down. This approach is not working. To get the most out of apprentices, a sectoral approach is needed across manufacturing and the Government needs to learn it is imperative to support specific sectors in a way that addresses their unique challenges.”

The Sector Skills Councils and unions in the manufacturing sector launched a unifying guide at the Conference detailing the funded apprenticeship frameworks available in the industries.