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Employers Complain of Skills Gap

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Almost a quarter of employers complain that workers skills are not up to scratch, but 40% had provided no training in a year, according to a new survey.

The Learning and Skills Council surveyed 72,100 employers in England and found that four in five employers said they were addressing skills deficiencies.

However, where training was provided, only half of employees benefited and 40% of employers had provided no training in the previous 12 months.

Bosses classed 11% of their workers as "incompetent".

As a result of the skills shortage, companies strugggled with higher operating costs, orders being lost, new product development being delayed and an increased workload for people who did know what they were doing.

Furthermore, about 135,000 vacancies were going unfilled because the necessary skills were not available, employers said.

The LSC, which is responsible for post-16 learning, carried out the survey to find out where it should concentrate its efforts.

It described the implications for the UK economy as "significant".

The LSC pointed to research by Ernst & Young, which showed that industry losses through lack of basic skills were as high as £10 billion annually and costs a typical business with 50 employees £165,000 a year.

LSC chief executive, Mark Haysom, said English businesses needed a strategy for staff training and development to remain competitive.

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