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Lewis identifies room for improvement in Government skills strategy


Minister for Young People and Adult Skills Ivan Lewis has commented on his conclusions from his UK-wide tour of skills summits. "We have seen a recent spate of stories in the press about shortages of plumbers, electricians and other skilled trades. We are aware that we must do more to get young people to take up vocational options, including Modern Apprenticeships.

"I have been round the country in recent months listening to what employers themselves are saying about skills shortages and what we should do to ensure we redress the balance. I have given a commitment that when we publish the Skills Strategy in June, it will address the concerns they raised.

"The important messages I took away from my tour are:

  • We need to work across government to reduce bureaucracy and introduce more flexible funding for training and skills

  • We must get more young people interested in vocational courses, through expanding apprenticeships to meet skill needs at craft/ trade and at higher levels

  • We need to look at ways of engaging more small firms in skills development through their suppliers and through networks and intermediaries

  • We need to simplify the qualifications system so that it accredits the skills that employers need

  • We must give more responsibility for planning and funding skills action to regional and local bodies, who understand what skills are needed in their labour market.

    "I want employers to continue telling me what they need Government to do, so that I can ensure that when we publish the skills strategy and the delivery plan in June, it will provide a step change in our approach to the skills agenda."

    The Skills Strategy now has a website.

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