The UK’s leading skills supremo says that the ‘country is coming up short’ in terms of productivity and employers need to ‘call in the cavalry of home-grown talent’ to put things right.

Dr Neil Bentley, CEO of WorldSkills UK, which accelerates the best of the best young apprentices and students to elite international standards, says the time has come to press the Brexit button and take our future in hand.

“It takes us five days to produce what Germany, France and the US can do in four. A perfect storm of under investment, changing industry needs and leaving the EU means UK employers should be calling in a cavalry of home-grown skills, but the country is coming up short.

“WorldSkills UK works to accelerate the development of young people’s skills from national to world-class standards. We’re creating a new generation of high flyers that give UK employers a competitive edge.”

The call comes as Team UK – 22 of the nation’s elite young apprentices and students – are preparing to head to Hungary to do battle with their peers from across the Continent at the Euroskills Finals in Budapest. (September 26-29)

Many industry and economic commentators see the intensive 3-day competition as a litmus test for how the country might fare when freedom of movement ceases in March.

Dr Neil Bentley explains: “We work with companies in all industries to embed the right skills to meet their talent pipeline needs. This includes designing and running skills competitions in new tech sectors. And it’s not just about delivering the technical skill-set, but also the resilience and creative mindset that are vital for driving business performance and ultimately the UK economy.

“Our mission is to change the national conversation so that apprenticeships and technical education are seen as prestigious career routes for all young people across the UK, whatever their background, and on a par with university as a route into meaningful careers.”

Team UK got a rousing Parliamentary send off on Tuesday (September 4th) – where MPs, Ministers, Shadow Ministers and senior guests urged them to perform to their optimum potential.

Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills Anne Milton MP said: “You are the future, you are representing the country – and doing us proud.

“We are moving to a World where it’s not about where you come from, or whether you went to university – but what skills you can offer to an employer and help them become more productive.

“Visiting the WorldSkills Competition last year was probably the most mind-blowing experience of my life. It’s about endurance and fortitude – when you get there don’t let anything get in your way – you are the best.”

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