The latest study from the government's Skills Task Force finds that supervisory skills are in such short supply that 2 million people have been employed without the skills required for the job.
The study finds that supervisors and line managers are lacking the practical and technical skills to manage properly, which has the potential to impact heavily on the sucess of work projects.
Britain's poor performance at school is underlined, particularly in Maths and Science subjects, which contributes partially towards poor performance in vocational qualifications. Germany has three times more workers qualified at some levels than the UK. Most worrying is the finding that nearly 7 million people in the UK are functionally illiterate.
The Skills Task Force was set up by the government in 1997 to assist in developing a national skills agenda by undertaking research and advising on skills needs and shortages. It will publish its final report, Towards a National Skills Agenda, shortly, and is likely to recommend that changes are made to training and education to improve delivery of vocational qualifications. Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has used the publication of the report to announce reforms to apprenticeships, a new £2.5m fund to raise skills levels amongst small businesses and a review of the financing of adult learning.
The DfEE have published Mind the Gap, an employers guide to filling the skills gap and improving recruitment methods.
Copies of the National Skills Task Force report are available from the DfEE publications centre (Prolog), PO Box 5050, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6ZQ (ref: SK728) or telephone 0845 602 2260.