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Employers call for attention to the basic skills gap


While the new education Green Paper comes out today, the CBI are urging the government not to be distracted from the fundamental importance of improving basic skills levels.

Susan Anderson, CBI Director of Human Resources Policy, pointed to the OECD Continuing Vocational Training Survey (1994), which showed that UK employers spend more on training than European competitors. The CBI maintains that this investment is necessary because too many young people leave school without the necessary skills - apparently nearly a fifth of 16 to 25 year olds have some basic skills problem.

"The number of young people lacking basic skills is a national disgrace. The government's top priority must be to ensure virtually all young people have mastered the basics of literacy and numeracy. All other proposals are second order to this," said Ms Anderson. "Current expectations are far too low. We need far more stretching targets. We need 16-year-olds to achieve at least grade C in English and Maths at GCSE or the equivalent. We cannot afford to let so many young people go into the job market without the skills they need."


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