EAL is urging employers in manufacturing and construction to “lead the way” for training provision in the UK, as new survey findings reveal the two sectors are lagging behind the UK average.

The specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications was responding to findings in the UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey 2011, which polled 87,500 employers from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The survey found businesses which do not offer training for their employees are twice as likely to fail. However, 44 per cent of those in manufacturing and 49 per cent in construction did not provide training for their staff in the 12 months prior to the survey. This compares with 41 per cent across all sectors in the UK.

It also found 17 per cent of employers in manufacturing have skills gaps in their workforce, while only 11 per cent in construction said the same. The UK average was 13 per cent.

Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, said: “Ensuring the workforce is trained to the highest standards is crucial for economic growth as it is vital for the UK’s industries to be competitive in a global marketplace.

“As two of the largest sectors in the UK economy, manufacturing and construction should not be lagging behind the national average in terms of their training provision, especially considering that skilled employees are so vital to businesses in these sectors.

“This disparity must be addressed. Manufacturing and construction should lead the way for providing training and qualifications for their workforce, giving them the skills not only to advance their own careers but also to help grow the businesses they are part of.

“EAL is working with partners like Enginuity to better educate employers as to the industry-specific provision available to upskill their staff and the benefits this can have on their businesses. Better customer relations and satisfaction, leaner operating practices and greater technical expertise are just some of the advantages. Quality training provision can also help attract the best workers as well as demonstrate to customers their dedication to producing world class results.”

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