Headlines: September 19th, 2002

Skill shortage vacancies in professional occupations have continued to grow since 1999 and are most severe in health and social care. Over one in five employers in the public and private sectors reported an internal skills gap affecting some 1.1 million employees. The factors influencing the shortage are the high level of employment and much vocational and adult learning that is not matching the skills actually required by employers.The Department for Education and skills is developing a skills strategy and delivery plan to be published in the spring, which will better meet the needs of employers and also raise the quality of vocational and adult learning. In a move to get an up to date picture of the employment scene Ivan Lewis, Minister for Adult Learning and Skills, will make a   regional tour, pulling together key partners to look at how best to tackle each region’s individual skill shortages. This will give employers in the public and private sectors an opportunity to press their case for better and more appropriate adult learning.

The Learning and Skills Council has developed local plans which match training and skills to the requirements of employers in individual areas across England. The Council has also launched sector pilot schemes to address local issues.