Neil Bentley-Gockmann is chief executive of UK WorldSkills and says his organisation can help grow the UK economy and boost prosperity for the country.
“To give the UK economy a fighting chance to recover, we need world-class skills. That’s how we can attract investment and create the jobs that are needed. With the Government pushing a global Britain message, post-Brexit, we need to make sure we’re helping UK businesses to be productive and globally competitive by delivering this high standard of quality skills,” he says.
As part of WorldSkills – a global movement of over 80 countries that supports young people via competitions-based training, assessment, and benchmarking – WorldSkills UK has a unique ability to benchmark the country’s technical skills internationally. It can tap into best practice to raise standards and drive the skills economy.
He makes the critical observation that over the past twenty years skills have been overlooked as part of the education mix whereas the key to economic growth lies in a fusion of academic and practical training:
“It’s no secret that skills have typically been undervalued in the UK,” says Bentley-Gockmann. “In the Nineties, the Government’s focus was on creating a knowledge economy with an emphasis on high-end, knowledge-led jobs and university as the ideal education path.
“This has rightly been the jewel in the UK’s economic crown for the last few decades and something we should continue to champion. But now is the time to complement that with a skills economy.
“It’s critical young people are inspired to take on apprenticeships and to see technical education as a prestigious career route. We need to champion the fact that being highly skilled is a valuable currency for success”, he says.
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