Investment in education for people over 16 is urgently required, according to John Cridland, director of human resources for the Confederation of British Industry.
Speaking after the Government bowed to industry pressure and revised its education plans, Cridland said local skills shortgages could not be met by one nationally administered training budget.
The CBI opposed reforms detailed in the Learning to Succeed White Paper, published earlier this year, and threatened a boycott. It argued that business would not have a strong enough role in the proposed Learning and Skills Councils.
In response education and employment secretary David Blunkett announced that 40% of the council’s members will now come from industry.
`We were uneasy with the pace and direction of the proposed changes, and were looking for reassurance that the Government would involve the business community,’ said Cridland.
`We wanted them to include a group of working business people. The fear was that it would just be an advisory body with no local budgets,’ he added.
The £5bn network, to be launched in April 2001, will be made up of 47 local bodies. The budgets will not be decided until early next year, the Department for Education and Employment said.