Over 90 per cent of respondents to a survey conducted this week by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) have said that the Government must fund more places at higher education institutions and should create more apprenticeship opportunities. The survey of logistics and transport professionals, academics and managers, began on 3rd September and closed on 10th September.
Delivering a key speech at the 2010 Logistics Research Network (LRN) conference hosted by the University of Leeds, Sir Moir Lockhead, President of CILT, said: ‘Funding more places at higher education institutions, and therefore enhancing the skills needs required for economic growth and reducing the burden on an already pressurised job market, is of greater benefit than increasing the number of unemployed school leavers.’
In his address, given to an audience containing many of the Europe’s leading academics and practitioners in transport and logistics, Sir Moir said: ‘CILT members support this approach. We’ve been asking them some key questions about this crucial issue over the past few days and to date over 90 per cent have said that providing sufficient full-time undergraduate places for UK students is important to economic recovery – in fact one third of those said that it was essential.’
Over 80 per cent of CILT members taking part in the survey called for the greater utilisation of existing physical and teaching resources. Sir Moir said ‘We believe that an additional 30,000 student places could be created in this way, without adding to cost of such resources or diluting the quality of teaching.’
In 2007 the Prince’s Trust published research which showed that the productivity cost to the economy as a result of youth unemployment amounted to a staggering £10 million each day – over £3.5 billion per year.
Sir Moir said that over the next ten years the number of 18 year old school leavers will decline and any longer-term growth in numbers in higher education was likely to come from part-time students with an increased focus on professional development for those in employment. And, as well as helping to deal with the future needs of society and the economy, the cost of funding 30,000 undergraduates was a good financial investment at £210 million per annum yielding a life time tax revenue of £1 billion.
The survey also revealed that the top priority for 52 per cent of CILT members was to encourage jointly funded Government/industry initiatives to increase apprenticeships. And 41 per cent said that current apprenticeship funding must be ring-fenced in order to provide for the forthcoming skills shortages which had been identified, such as HGV drivers and warehouse personnel.
Sir Moir said: ‘CILT believes that we cannot afford a’ lost generation’ either in terms of financial cost or the skills loss. We will now take these views to Government and ask it to look again at what can be done to support our young people.’
In a CILT survey carried out in July and August 75 per cent of members said that future Government spending on transport should concentrate on actions which yielded an economic return.