The return to economic growth in the UK could be derailed unless skills and education deficiencies are addressed, say the CBI.
In the latest CBI/Pearson Education and Skills report, the business body suggest there are early indications of fewer businesses reporting problems in recruiting STEM skills, but an upturn would test this trend.
The survey of nearly 300 employers, responsible for some 1.24 million employees, found business’ top priorities are safeguarding funding for STEM in further education (52%) and improving the supply of specialist teachers in schools (50%).
CBI director general, John Cridland, said a lack of adequate careers advice was hampering transitions between education and work.
He suggested careers advice should be seen as the priority it is, not an afterthought to the curriculum.
Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, said: “The flip side of faster growth is an escalating skills crisis. While this isn’t surprising, it makes it all the more urgent to close the skills gaps in science, technology, engineering and maths to support the recovery.
“We must expand access to high quality apprenticeships and other ‘learn while you earn’ schemes and ensure that these meet the needs of both businesses and employees.
“To equip young people with the knowledge they need, there must also be a sea-change in the quality of careers advice in schools, so they are more aware of the opportunities and rewards of working in key sectors which face skills shortages.”