The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Skills Bureaucracy
by Peter

"The skills gap, for example, is another concern of business. A shortage of properly trained workers holds back the development of industry and restricts innovation. This, in turn, can curb wealth creation. It's vital that we close the skills gap by investing NOW in both basic training and, where appropriate, more advanced training. A survey earlier this year by the British Chamber of Commerce revealed that 43% reported difficulties finding skilled workers, compared with 29% in 1994."


(Norman Lamb).

Politicians always say this - and are probably right to do so. But the remedy is fantastically complicated (take a look at Figure 3 in this NAO report. The analysis suggests that employers will pay for higher level skills - but are reluctant to train employees in basic numeracy and literacy. One solution would be to ensure that people learn these skills while still at school - where the key challenge is (probably) to motivate all pupils.

Figures 4 and 5 provide some accessible statistics on employment and productivity - aparently amazingly consistent between different regions.

The rational policy would, I think, be to reduce the number of public sector bodies involved in encouraging and providing training. Let me know if I have got this wrong.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 1:49 pm  
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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.

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