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CBI calls for greater focus on skills development


A lack of skills is holding back the development of manufacturing industries, according to an influential employers’ association.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said manufacturing is suffering from long-term decline and that the government and businesses must work together to create a modern industrial strategy. It called for a greater emphasis on skills development to help strengthen and diversify the UK economy.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, said there is an ‘out-dated perception of what a career in manufacturing is like’. “I recently asked CEOs from across our manufacturing sector what worries them most about the future of UK manufacturing,” she said. “It was this problem they raised first – our ability to enthuse and train the next generation.

“When you say ‘manufacturing’ to people today – most people still think of hard labour and oil-stained clothes, not fighter jets, driverless cars or 3D printing.

“We need to offer young people a true picture of 21st century manufacturing. The Careers and Enterprise Company is helping to do this with Enterprise Advisers – business volunteers – who are heading out into schools and colleges across the UK.”

Ms Fairbairn added that skills development is essential to embrace long-term opportunities and trends, particularly in digital industries.

ASDAN’s Manufacturing Vocational Taster helps young people develop manufacturing knowledge and skills. The student book contains modules in Understanding Manufacturing, Product Design, Manufacturing Logistics, Making Stuff, Health and Safety, and Careers. It is suitable for learners of all abilities, mainly aged 14 to 19.

Our Computing Vocational Taster increases learners’ knowledge of digital industries. This flexible programme accredits 10 to 60 hours of activities and is ideal for learners following an alternative progression route.