Cameron tells firms to learn from Germany about skills

0
Have your say

THE UK must learn lessons from Germany if it is to plug a skills deficit that threatens the future competitiveness of British industry, David Cameron has said.

He urged schools, colleges and businesses to take a “more Germanic approach” by consulting on what skills were most needed in the next generation of workers.

The Prime Minister yesterday spoke out after being challenged on a visit to a car parts plant over what he was doing to ensure UK firms could compete in the future.

Firms were warning Ministers that the supply of newly-trained engineers and mechanics and other skilled staff was failing to keep up with rapid expansions in business, he said.

But he insisted that part of the answer lay with bosses themselves doing more to ensure the education system understood their priorities.

“As we try and re-industrialise our country, some companies like yours are expanding so fast they are saying to us, ‘we can’t find the engineers, we can’t find the mechanics and other skills’,” he said during a question and answer session at car seat and electricals firm Lear in Redditch.

“There is no simple, easy answer to this because you can’t create an engineer overnight.

“You’ve got to go right back in the school system, which is what we are doing, and say, ‘right, are we encouraging kids to study the right subjects?’.”

He went on: “There was a time when local colleges were just looking up to government and saying, ‘right, what courses shall we study in order to tick all your boxes?’

“We are saying, ‘forget that, instead of looking up to the government, get out there and meet with the companies and find out what they want you to train people up into’.”

Firms also had to “get into the local colleges, get into the local schools and tell them what it is you want”, he suggested.