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Sector Skills Councils

Volume 694: debated on Monday 16 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the measures taken by sector skills councils in the areas of chemicals, polymers and petroleum, and artificial textile compounds are sufficient to cope with shortages in technician-level recruitment of skilled personnel. [HL4700]

There continues to be a growing demand from employers for individuals with technology and higher-level skills. Cogent is the lead sector skills council for the chemicals, polymers and petroleum industries. It has undertaken extensive UK-wide consultation and analysis with employers and other partners, resulting in a sector skills agreement that identifies skills gaps and how they are best addressed.

The measures to increase the recruitment of skilled technicians include introducing community apprenticeships, revisions of the apprenticeship framework to ensure technical relevance, the development of a sector careers pathways website and programmes that upskill those already working within the industries.

For the textile industry, Skillfast-UK is the lead SSC. It has developed new training models for technicians and a fast-track graduate development programme for those wanting to enter careers as technologists. More broadly, the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) programme promotes technology careers to young people and raises the profile of opportunities available in the manufacturing and process industries. In addition, the Government expect to announce shortly plans for the implementation of the recommendations in the Leitch report on skills.