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CBI director general calls for more awareness of value of vocational skills

The director general of the CBI, John Cridland, has urged people to see the economic value in vocational skills.

Speaking to the BBC, he said that something needs to be done to stop people getting “stuck” in minimum wage jobs. By helping people work their way up in their careers, the country itself should benefit through economic growth, advised Cridland: “If we get productivity going, we are creating more wealth, and we can share it.”

As part of the process of rebuilding the nation's business confidence, Cridland called in his New Year's message for a vocational system that would operate in a similar way to the university application system, Ucas, in order to raise awareness of alternative career routes and the value of practical skills.

Mark Beatson, chief economist with the CIPD, another leading business think tank, backed up the need to help develop skills. He told the news source that the economy as a whole needs to make more use of the “skills and talents of our workforce”.

The comments come after the latest CBI/KPMG London Business Survey showed that optimism among the city's employers has jumped significantly from 56 per cent last quarter to 69 per cent in the final quarter of 2013. Employment figures remain subdued as a whole, but confidence and growth are emerging, with those in possession of in-demand skills best placed to take advantage.