Productivity gap is about education, education, education

2005

The leader of the Institute of Directors has put the blame for the UK’s continuing productivity gap firmly on the shoulders of politicians and educationalists.

Miles Templeman, IoD director-general, will tell the Institute of Economic Affairs later today, that Government policies on education and training are doing nothing to plug the gap.

Successive generations of policy-makers have failed to rectify the inherent problems in the UK’s education and training system.

“Despite 11 years of compulsory education, about 25,000 pupils leave school at 16 without a single GCSE to their name. Around four and a half million people have no qualifications at all,” he will say.

The lack of a proper system of vocational education compounds the issue, Templeman will claim.

“Many businesses experience skill shortages and are unable to recruit the adequately skilled individuals from the labour market that they need. In 2004, 135,000 vacancies could not be filled because of skill shortages.

"Other businesses suffer from skills gaps, whereby some of their employees lack the skills that they need to carry out their jobs effectively,” he will say.

To tackle the issue, Templeman will set out a four-point plan:

  • Improving standards in literacy and numeracy,
  • Overhauling the apprenticeships system to ensure that apprentices are not receiving poor quality training from poor providers
  • Ensuring vocational qualifications meet the needs of employers
  • Reducing the tax burden on business to allow firms to invest more money in training and skills development.