Budget puts skills development at the centre of economic growth

View Latest News Publish Date: 24-Mar-2011

Budget puts skills development at the centre of economic growth

George Osbourne MP Chancellor of the Exchequer described British workers in his Budget yesterday as being less skilled that their counterparts in many other industrialised nations. But at the same time he also described skills development as a key ingredient in maintaining economic growth and said that Britain should aim to have the most flexible and highly skilled workforce in Europe.

Mr Osbourne announced measures to deal with youth unemployment, preparing school leavers for work and improving the technical skills that will drive the growth of manufacturing in the United Kingdom.

Katerina Rudiger, the skills adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said that Mr Osbourne was right to invest in developing skills as long as he was investing in the skills that would aid economic recovery.

"The increased workplace-based training funding, especially for 40,000 extra apprenticeships, will allow British businesses to grow and become more competitive through their people.

Tom Wilson, director of unionlearn, has also welcomed the increase in apprenticeship numbers, saying that trade unions are helping the government to support quality apprenticeships that provide good training and learning and lead to a job. He cautioned that apprentices should not be used as a quick fix to solve youth unemployment, suggesting that that could lead to aprenticeships going the same way as other failed initiatives like YTS and YOPs. With trade unions training their representatives to act as mentors, employers now have to play their part said Mr Wilson and take them on, but too few are providing places.

The focus on highly skilled trades, through the creation of 24 new technical colleges, is a welcome step in the right direction said Ms Rudiger, as more needs to be done to improve the quality and reputation of the vocational education on offer for young people.

"On top of this, the increased funding of work placements for young people is an efficient way to target youth unemployment, helping to break the vicious circle of no experience/no job and give young people an opportunity to develop and demonstrate the skills and commitment employers need. The CIPD is already working with government to facilitate HR professionals playing an active role in making a reality of these ambitions."

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