UK firms are being urged to demonstrate support for the Skills Pledge, with Sir Digby Jones calling on businesses to sign up in a bid to improve training among the UK workforce.
It is hoped that wider commitment to the Skills Pledge will help tackle a skills shortage in the UK and ultimately boost the country's competitive edge with regard to various sector skills.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five's Wake Up To Money programme, Sir Digby stressed the need to commit to skills development.
"It is so important that we get those people who are getting excluded from the world of work over the next five years because Britain is moving up the value added chain," he explained.
"The problem is welcome to reality," he added. "We've got to step up to the plate and do it because we have no choice."
Sir Digby argued that businesses of all sizes should make the effort to address the skills gap and offer training to employees, highlighting the longer term benefits to be achieved by individual firms and the economy at large.
Concerns have also been voiced over a skills gap in the UK's IT sector, as highlighted by a recent report commissioned by Microsoft.