Headlines: June 3rd, 1999

The Skills Taskforce has called for a jobs, education and training website to be set up to help tackle skills shortages. It also wants a new focus on the vocational route via apprenticeships and a new drive to improve mathematics and IT skills.

Education and Employment Minister Andrew Smith welcomed the report as a valuable contribution in the national assault on skills shortages. He said: “The report sets out a radical approach for young people – especially those who don’t go on to university or who wish to do so through the vocational route. Skills are vital for economic competitiveness and we will not tolerate the social exclusion which results from low achievement. People need to understand the demands of a knowledge-based, skills-orientated labour market.”

The Skills Task Force was set up to advise on developing a national skills agenda which will ensure the economy has the skills required to sustain high levels of employment, compete in the global market place and provide opportunity for all. Its first report “Towards a National Skills Agenda” which was published in September 1998 defined the Task Force’s vision, marshalled available skills evidence and set out the issues to work on.