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A chance to close the skills gap

Successive government reviews and reports have identified the UK's major skills gap at technician level (national vocational qualification levels 3 and 4).

A review of the available evidence by the Engineering and Technology Board confirms this is the case. More importantly, it shows that the supply of such skills is likely to be inadequate to meet future economic needs - particularly in science, engineering and technology.

The forthcoming Skills Strategy represents an opportunity for the Government to address this issue. Raising skills and labour supply at level 3 needs to be a priority since all the evidence suggests that that is where economic need is greatest.

Boosting skills must be done in tandem with the simplification of the current qualifications structure and the clarification of progression within it.

There is little point in creating a raft of qualifications that confuse employers, employees and students.

Professor Sa'ad Medhat Director, engineering and technology board 10 Maltravers Street London WC2

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