Last updated: 13.02.14

Skills gap concerns for British workforce

The growing skills gap in the UK workforce is the single biggest issue currently facing the country's businesses, a Labour peer has claimed.

According to Lord Adonis, a lack of certain skills in the labour force is posing a significant barrier to growth for many businesses.

The well-known reformer former minister of state for education and former secretary of state for transport has been travelling around the country for the past six months, meeting with various business leaders about what they feel is currently holding them back from realising their full potential.

For many companies, the only solution is to train staff once they have been hired and there are various tools that can be used to this end. But arguably one of the most powerful is the internet, as this allows for virtual learning to take place in employees' spare time, rather than when they are at their most productive.

At Virtual College, we have over 300 different vocational courses online that have been designed to assist the UK workforce across numerous sectors.

Speaking at the ICAEW BusinessFutures event in London recently, Lord Adonis said: "The single most important impediment at every single consultation event that I have done has been skills."

According to Economia, he also lent his support to the findings of a recent report by Business Futures, which suggested that the whole education system in Britain needs to be completely overhauled in order to better support the transition from schools and universities into the workplace. 

Among the report's recommendations, some universities should also be nationalised in order to have their goals more closely aligned with the needs of young people entering a competitive jobs market.

"Nowhere is this crisis more evident than in the public sector," Lord Adonis said. "They are among the worst employers of apprenticeships in the country." 

Ironically, he highlighted the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as one of the worst offenders in this area, despite it being responsible for promoting apprenticeship schemes across the country.