Be leaders – take charge of the skills crisis Armitt tells industry bosses

Sir John Armitt has called on the infrastructure industry to take responsibility for dealing with skills gaps rather than expect government to solve the problem on its behalf.

“We can’t rely on government to fill our needs. That is the responsibility of the industry. It is our responsibility to pick people up and give them training,”  he said. Sir John was speaking at the ACE European CEO Awards event  and he warned his audience largely of consultancy bosses that taking responsibility for the industry’s future skills requirements meant more than simply focusing on the elite. “It is no good having lots of engineers, if we don’t have the technician and artisans as well,” he said.

"“The business community has a responsibility to make its voice heard and co-operate in support of the European market."

Sir John – former had of the London Olympic Delivery Authority and author of his own Armitt review into infrastructure planning in the UK – is also chairman of the City and Guilds organisation.

In his speech he also urged industry to show leadership and stand up for the importance of the single European market in delivering growth and the infrastructure – particularly energy and transport - that Europe and the world needs to support a population expected to grown from 6.5bn to 9bn.

“The business community has a responsibility to make its voice heard and co-operate in support of the European market. In all our successes and all our failures, the important thing that we learn is (there is benefit) in working together, sharing risk and increasing opportunity for innovation.

“Europe, and I include Britain in that, and the US have massive resources and capacity to offer the world. We could compete but more often than not we get strength from working together.  The key is strong leadership pulling people together.

“My vision is of the UK as a strong and influential part of Europe, an integral part of one of the world’s largest political and economic blocs. Change is best achieved through persuasion and sensible debate of a problem shared. Megaphone diplomacy and threat are not the way forward.

“The future has to be one of global co-operation. We can all support that by sharing our knowledge, demonstrating the power of international co-operation and creating a better future for our citizens.”

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