John Hayes, the skills minister, launched the consultation document, Skills for Sustainable Growth, which outlines the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) plan to better prepare those who are 19 and over for paid employment.
Following the consultation paper, a full strategy will be published after the Spending Review in October.
Susan Anderson, CBI director for public services and skills, says: ‘We need a more simplified and effective skills system and funding support that is better focused on supporting economic growth and helping individuals develop the skills they need to enter or progress in the labour market.’
The consultation paper states that the UK urgently needs to ‘take action to meet recent concerns that the recovery in the jobs market is slowing and that so-called skills gaps in the workforce could restrict the ability of companies to take advantage of the upturn’.
Back in 2006, Lord Leitch was asked to assess the nation’s skills to see how well placed the UK is to compete in the global economy. Leitch found that ‘more than one third of adults do not hold the equivalent of a basic school-leaving qualification’ and ‘almost one half of adults (17 million) have difficulty with numbers and one seventh (five million) are not functionally literate’.