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Contractors attack Spellar over skills shortage

NEWS

CONTRACTORS THIS week angrily rejected government efforts to hold them responsible for solving the skills shortage.

Their frustration at government inaction is set out in a letter sent by Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) to transport minister John Spellar, CBI director general Digby Jones and minister for adult skills, John Healey 'Our industry is awash with challenges at the moment and we do not want any more issued, ' says letter, written by CECA chairman Trevor Walker. 'What we want is support and input.'

The call for more government involvement in tackling the skills shortage at schools level follows a meeting between ministers and employers representatives held last week at the ICE.

At the meeting ministers tried to place responsibility for tackling the shortage on the industry.

'We are sticking to the 10 year plan and to our commitments to it. We need to take action now in order to ensure these problems do not put at risk the delivery, ' transport minister John Spellar told the meeting.

'The government has already taken the most important step by producing the plan and providing the financial certainty that is so important to business. Now it is your turn.'

Walker's letter welcomes new government proposals to introduce vocational GCSEs, arguing that these can be 'high quality, relevant, job related and above all valuable and worthwhile'.

'But government must do more than simply launch the initiative, ' he urges. 'It must achieve a fundamental change in the minds of teachers and pupils.

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