Skills gap 'costing economy £10bn a year'


England's skills gap is costing the economy £10 billion in lost revenue every year according to a parliamentary committee.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the committee of public accounts, criticised the fact that a third of employers provided no training for staff, threatening the state of the nation's financial health.

"A modern economy simply cannot afford to have more than a third of employers providing no training for their staff," said Mr Leigh.

While agencies such as Learn Direct exist to help people further their education, the MP said that it and the Learning and Skills Council should form better links with industry.

Criticism comes with the publication of the committee's report on skills and how provision meets business needs, along with the level of support for schemes.

Although the government is said to spend £6.7 billion annually on training with a further £23 billion coming from industry, Mr Leigh was unhappy that much of this was spent on teaching 16- to 19-year-olds "skills they should have got at school".

He also called on "skills brokers" funded by Train to Gain to improve their record on getting employers to train their staff.

Training is needed, Mr Leigh added, not only to close the current skills gap but to keep up with learning progress by overseas competitors.

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