Sector skills council, Semta responds positively to Budget provisions for vocational training and education.
Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta, has condoned the budget support for vocational education routes. Budget conditions have allowed for the doubling of the number of University Technical Colleges previously endorsed, as well as providing £180m for 50,000 more apprenticeships across sectors.
Government has raised its apprenticeship provisions, partly in response to feedback from business and industry which has highlighted severe skills gaps at technician level in sectors targeted by government for economic growth. However, another significant influence has been the escalating youth unemployment problem facing the UK. Overall unemployment in the UK rose 27,000 in the last quarter taking the number of jobless citizens to 2.53million.
Of this number just short of one million are between the ages of 16 and 24, a key demographic to target for apprenticeship training and a critical population segment to enable in order to safegurad future industrial competitive capability.
The sector sjkills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, Semta, has welcomed government’s recognition of the role to be played by vocational education in resolving this problem and increasing the capacity for growth in British enterprise. In particular Semta has praised the number and diversity of the proposals set out by in the recent Budget.
Respodinf to the Budget announcements Whiteman says: “We know a key focus for businesses should be investing in their future workforce. In particular with our research indicating that a quarter of employers in our sectors have skills gaps, increasing investment in the Manufacturing Advisory Service will help more businesses understand that training is an investment rather than a cost. The recent CBI industrial trends survey revealed the recovery in the manufacturing sector was firmly in place. The expansion of advanced manufacturing will have a key role to play in ensuring the sector maintains its position.
“Overall, it is positive that employer’s needs are being recognised and we are pleased to see that the promotion of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects remains at the top of the agenda. It is important to make sure that those who have the biggest influence, from teachers to employers, have access to the right amount of knowledge and quality of training to encourage young people to consider a career in STEM.”
Another budget provision endorsed by Semta is the planned development of a new degree for Advanced Manufacturing. Whiteman described this development as “key” for Semta and for the manufacturing industry alongside the introduction of ten new enterprise zones to help bring rationality to the way in which growing manufacturing job opportunities are filled.