CEA adds weight to calls for ‘urgent action’ to safeguard skills amidst mass redundancies

Rob Oliver CEA CEO
Rob Oliver

THE Construction Equipment Association (CEA) has joined manufacturers, unions, skills training providers and other industry bodies in signing a letter sent to the UK secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson MP, urging him to help save apprenticeships and provide re-skilling opportunities.

The letter calls for urgent action to safeguard the skills the country’s economy needs now and in the future by acting to save the country’s apprenticeships and reskill, retrain and redeploy the expertise of those workers made redundant as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Against the current backdrop of mass lay-offs, the manufacturing sector is facing a loss of skills, jobs, and apprentices.

Signatories to the letter include Make UK, the Trade Union Congress, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions and skills training providers Enginuity and Cogent. it calls for a National Skills taskforce to be set up, tasked with identifying opportunities where skills are in demand, whether in manufacturing or other sectors, and develop a flagship upskilling programme to support employers in the development of new digital and ‘green’ skills needed for a future-proofed economy.

Rob Oliver, CEO of the CEA said, “Apprenticeship starts dropped off a cliff in May as the effects of Covid-19 hit. The aim of the CEA, working with Make UK and a host of leading manufacturers’ associations, is to draw attention to the issue and suggest some ways forward for the government. Not least we are calling for some further flexibility in the use of the apprenticeship levy fund to help secure apprentice positions, in addition to what has been introduced via the Kickstart Scheme.”