The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) today welcomed the launch of the Government's Further Education White Paper.

Commenting on the release of the report, Bill Midgley, President of the BCC said:

 "For too long employers have been unable to find staff with the right skills for their businesses. In a rapidly changing global economy this issue is becoming ever more crucial. We need a highly-skilled and flexible worfkorce if the UK economy is to continue to be competitive.

"We therefore welcome the Government's commitment to making the Further Education system more employer-facing and the establishment of a new economic mission for the sector. This is not only in the interest of our businesses and economy, but also our communities.

"We support moves, outlined in the White Paper, to reduce bureaucracy within the sector, increase funding for 19-25 year olds to achieve their first Level 3 qualification (equivalent to A levels) and the focus on better regional and local collaboration in addressing skills needs. We are especially pleased that the majority of funding for adult workforce development will follow the employer.

"Employers already spend billions every year on upskilling the workforce, but they can, and should, do more. A more streamlined and accessible system which addresses their needs will help encourage them to do that. It will also help to improve the employability and life-chances of the workforce and create more sustainable communities.

"We do not underestimate the challenges to the Further Education sector and we welcome full and open dialogue to help implement the White Paper proposals."