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LSC targets poor business productivity


The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has published its workforce development strategy, the plan for implementing the Government’s drive to improve skills in business and raise productivity.

Bryan Sanderson, Chairman of the LSC, said: "Our aim is to transform the workforce giving young people and adults world-class knowledge and productive skills by 2010. We are competing in a high tech economy with other developed nations and increasingly the workforce is switching from smokestack enterprises to high value-added goods and services that depend on high-level skills. This country already has a highly skilled workforce at the top end of the skills range. Our universities compare favourably with any in the world in terms of academic excellence and world renowned research and development. Many of our blue chip companies are at the leading edge of product and service development.

"Where we do lag behind is in the intermediate and lower skill levels, those skills which underpin and sustain the undoubted inspiration to which British enterprise can rise. This shows in international productivity comparisons: currently, our labour productivity is 9% behind that of Germany, 18% behind France and 38% behind the US.

"Reducing the proportion of the workforce with low skills will help close this productivity gap. Our workforce development strategy sets targets to tackle the deficit in the 1 in 5 adults who have significant difficulty with literacy and numeracy - a cost to industry of some £4.8 billion per year. Or the 7.2 million workers in England who lack a basic qualification equal to five good GCSEs, essential to finding and keeping a job. Finally we are targeting the 12.4 million workers who lack qualifications equivalent to A levels which will be needed for most jobs by 2010.

"Our strategy, in line with the Government’s framework for action, sets out a three point plan:
- To drive up demand for employability skills
- To improve colleges and other providers of training so that they can be responsive and flexible to the needs of employers
- To improve the framework of vocational qualifications, use labour market intelligence more effectively and link to the wider educational agenda of schools, universities and lifelong learning

“With our partners we look forward to implementing this strategy, matching supply and demand and restoring the productivity of this country to the world’s best.”


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