Make skills strategy a political priority, says shadow business minister

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Gavin Shuker, shadow minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), called on the government to introduce policies that would address the long-term skills needs of industry, including manufacturing.

Speaking at an event in Westminster organised by the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG), Shuker said the short to medium term challenges facing the government were to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.

However he said that among the longer term aspirations should be a determination to promote and develop skills in the UK.

“We need to address how to get people to ‘skill up’. This should be a political priority. And without political leadership it will be a wasted effort,” he added.

The ASPRG event, hosted by MP Barry Sheerman, also launched a collection of essays under the title Sustainable Skills: The Future of the Waste Management Industry.

Dr Gev Eduljee, external affairs director at waste management firm Sita, wrote that skills requirements among managers and supefvisors in the waste management and recycling sectors had changed in recent years, “with greater emphasis on customer management, product quality, budgetary control and financial modelling”.

Eduljee said that as landfill tonnages decreased, prompted by strict regulation, between 50 million and 80 million tonnes of capacity would be required by 2020.

The number of direct jobs created in waste management by 2020 was forecast to rise by between 19,000 and 36,000, an increase of up to 28% on the current figure of 128,000 employees.

See Hamish Champ’s blog.