Having launched VQ Day 2015 here in Wales earlier this month, the latter is particularly relevant. High quality apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications should be a normal career pathway for many more young people, and a routine means through which businesses recruit and develop their talent pipeline.
We're calling on politicians to think before they leap. City & Guilds wants to see long-term planning instead of short-term headline grabbing. If politicians can't learn from mistakes and leave policies in place long enough to make a difference, they risk another three decades of getting caught in the tube doors.
The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and plans have been made. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll be toasting in the New Year. People say things tend to quieten down for businesses around this time of year, but this certainly hasn't been the case in the skills and employment arena. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It is natural for businesses to take stock of not only each financial year, but at the end of each calendar year too. As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 pushes its way to the fore, I have no doubt that industry leaders across the country will be taking time out to consider the ebb and flow of their order book in some form or another this Christmas.
The skills gap in UK science and engineering industries is now an accepted fact of life with companies reporting difficulties in current recruitment of skilled staff. However, an initiative called Industrial Cadets, supported by government and led by major manufacturers, offers the opportunity of engaging future recruits while still at school, thereby developing the future talent pipeline.
Business and education. They should be perfect partners, with businesses relying on educational institutions to deliver individuals with the qualifications and skills they need to flourish, and educational institutions maintaining their relevancy by working to make sure they understand and reflect those needs in courses offered.
This is a perfect storm scenario. Countries such as the UK, with a history of dominance and empire and educational excellence, need to look beyond the obvious. The world is going to be a very different place in just a couple of decades. Economic and cultural hegemony is not a birthright and can easily shift to the east throughout this century.