Nick Stuart, the new director-general of Lifelong Learning, complained, at a conference of the Association of Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges' Employers' Forum, of poor standards and shoddy teaching in construction, engineering and computing. "There is a widespread paucity of excellence in the colleges and some of them are letting down heir local communities and employers."
He said the situation in computing was desperate. "There are up to 700,000 new jobs in this sector. Where will we find the people to fill them?" he asked. Other opportunities were being lost in construction and engineering.
But Nigel Robbins, principal of Cirencester College, accused ministers and civil servants of presiding over their own "shoddy failure" with the University for Industry.