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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Government tips off firms to spot skills gaps

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AIMS: Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude

By Amy Fenton

THE government has published details of future rail, energy and other building projects to help firms spot skills “gaps”.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and Business Secretary Vince Cable highlighted the tunnelling skills needed for infrastructure projects such as High Speed 2, Crossrail, the London Underground Northern Line extension, National Grid cable tunnels and the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The data would help the government to work with industry to spot skills and investment gaps earlier, the ministers said.

Mr Maude said: “Publishing data on what we plan to buy, whether it’s tunnels or computers, means we can identify skills gaps sooner and give industry a heads up so UK businesses are in a better position to compete.

“We are publishing information now so that when the time comes to do these projects, British industry will be in a strong position to win the contracts that drive growth here at home.”

Mr Cable added: “This is about ensuring Britain’s supply base has the skills and capacity to meet the challenges of the future.

“By publishing a forward pipeline of public projects we can help UK businesses – whether in tunnelling or elsewhere – become more competitive.

“Frankly, we’ve been too short-term in how we’ve done procurement in the past.

“Our key competitors in Europe already see procurement as an integral part of a proper industrial strategy and it’s time we did the same.”

Data on future contracts across 13 different sectors, worth £70bn of potential future business opportunities, was published.

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