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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Skills gap fears after PISA results

Last week I asked the Welsh Education Minister about the perception caused by Wales very poor PISA results in terms of attracting jobs and businesses:

Peter Black: Minister, the latest PISA results have shown that the outcomes for pupils in Wales in relation to basic skills is particularly poor. What will you do in the next six months to convince employers who wish to relocate to Wales and create jobs here that they have a high-quality workforce that they can call on to turn this around?

Huw Lewis: As we have discussed, within the next six months, we will see a radically reformed school improvement structure across the country, so that every corner of Wales, every teaching professional, certainly, and every school leader will see a completely revamped structure of support and challenge all around them. This will be the single most important vehicle in terms of driving this agenda forward.

The BBC reported on the same day that business leaders in Wales are warning of a skills shortage in the wake of these school tests which show that the nation is falling behind its industrial rivals:.

Emma Watkins, director of business group CBI Wales, said basic skills was one of the top issues firms raised.

"It's fundamental that the skills system, the education system, is meeting the needs of the economy. Are we doing that? No. Not enough yet."

She argued that businesses should be expected to pay to train people in specific skills required by the company.

But she added: "There are still too many businesses out there who are having to invest time and money and resources in teaching people to read, to write, to answer the phone, which frankly they shouldn't be doing."

This remains a huge concern of course, The damage that we have to repair as a result of the Welsh Governmeent's failure is not just in the education system but in our reputation with business and those who would employ people here.
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