CBI warns over widening skills gap

The CBI has warned that the education system must prepare young people for the world of work or risk a skills crisis, after a survey found that 58% are not confident they have the skilled staff available for their future needs.

The survey found that employers wanted primary schools to focus on developing literacy and numeracy, with one-third unsatisfied with these skills among school leavers. Half of employers in the want schools to develop a greater awareness of working life among 14 to 19-year-olds, with support from businesses. Two-thirds of companies are prepared to take on a larger role in the school careers system.

John Cridland, the CBI director-general, said: “The journey from school towards the world of work can be daunting, so we must support schools and teachers to help develop the skills, character and attitudes students need to progress in life. We need young people who are rigorous, rounded and grounded, and business stands ready to play its part.”

“There is a crisis in UK skills right now and our incapacity to meet growing demands for higher skills is putting the long-term prospects of the UK economy at risk. We need to create more apprenticeships, but also retrain current workers with in-demand skills in key sectors.”