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Plan to end skill drought;FE Focus

A RADICAL three-point plan to revolutionise Britain's training system was unveiled this week in a reporton skills shortages, writes Harvey McGavin.

A rejuvenated vocational education system, an emphasis on key skills and an Internet-based jobs and training information service should form the basis of a campaign to tackle Britain's skills shortages, according to the second report of the basic skills task force.

The report is highly critical of the present system, saying funding is "inconsistent" and vocational qualifications are "still incoherent and very confusing".

Chris Humphries, head of the British Chambers of Commerce, and chair of the task force, said the dozens of recommendations - including an entitlement to free education up to level 3 (A-level equivalent) for everyone under 25 - were achievable within current budget commitments.

"The big change would be in the level 3 entitlement. Our initial estimate is that would cost pound;300 million therefore that can be absorbed within the new resources in FE and Modern Apprenticeships."

Andrew Smith, education and employment minister, welcomed the report, saying: "The best economic policy we have is education and training to provide us with the skills vital to prosperity...There is still a long way to go but this report helps us on our way."

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