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Government Report Says UK is Closing Skills Gap


Britain is closing the skills gap with its major competitors, according to a government report.

Analysis of changes in skills levels in the UK, USA, France, Germany and Singapore between 1994 and 2003, shows that of all these countries the UK had the highest growth rate for qualifications at level 2 (equivalent to 5 GSCEs grades A-C) and above.

The UK is also closing the gap with Germany and the USA at level 3 (A level equivalent) and is already ahead of all the other countries except the USA at level 4 (degree level) and above.

However, the report highlights the large gap still to be closed if the UK is to compete well with the major economic powers as the UK still has the lowest proportion of the workforce qualified to level 2+ compared to the other countries studied.

More information is available from the DfES research website.

Key findings:
* For qualifications at level 2 and above the UK had the highest growth rate of all the countries reviewed for the period 1994-2003.
* At level 3+ the UK workforce is ahead of France and for 19 – 21 year olds our qualification levels are similar to all the other countries studied.
* Evidence of polarisation in the qualifications of the workforce is still evident with the UK having the lowest proportion at level 2+ but the second highest proportion with level 4+.
* The increase in qualification levels in the UK has been predominantly in general, rather than vocational qualifications.
* At both Level 2+ and Level 3+ women in the youngest age groups have higher levels of qualification. However, women in the general population are less well qualified than men except in the US were the proportions are very similar.


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