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DTI skills plan gets industry backing

The publication of the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) five year plan, 'Creating wealth from knowledge', has been welcomed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The plan proposes to establish more skills academies similar to the Automotive Academy which was launched in 2003, based in the West Midlands. The Academy is enhancing the skills of Britain's motor industry, plugging skills gaps to improve productivity and competitiveness.

The five year plan also proposes the creation of sector specific groups to tackle 'regulation overload'. The Vehicle Industry Policy and European Regulation initiative (VIPER) was the first such group, formed in 2002. It has been meeting regularly to discuss EU directives, future government regulation and implementation issues.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: "The UK automotive sector has set the pace for many of the new initiatives in the DTI five year plan. The Automotive Academy and VIPER are helping automotive manufacturing in the UK meet the challenges of global competition. We are a sector that is committed to driving skills, innovation and productivity."

SMMT supports the proposals to raise the proportion of young people achieving skill level 3 (A levels or the vocational equivalent) and efforts to encourage more inward investment into R&D. The SMMT-managed Foresight Vehicle programme will continue to lead the industry's work in this area.

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