The UK is facing a “skills emergency” and cannot let Brexit distract people from tackling the crisis, a business leader has said.
CBI director-general Caroline Fairbairn said weaknesses in supporting young people into work had existed for years, but the changing nature of jobs had made the situation “critical”.
She said improvements to technical education, better careers guidance and giving teenagers at least four instances work experience before the leave school should be priorities for Ministers in 2018.
And she warned that, though getting more clarity on Brexit and negotiating a good deal for leaving the EU were crucial, the issue could not be allowed to dominate the Government agenda at the expense of other pressing items.
Ms Fairbairn said: “The top priority must be the urgent transformation of our skills base. The clock may be ticking on Brexit but it is ticking just at fast in our schools, colleges, universities and workplaces.
“The UK is facing a skills emergency. Weaknesses in supporting young people into the labour market have existed for years, but the changing nature of jobs and skill needs have turned the situation critical.
“The CBI will be campaigning for reformed careers advice in schools and to ensure every young person gets quality guidance and at least 4 interactions with working life by the age of 16, in every nation of the UK.”