The Politics Show North West
Sarah Pullen BAE, Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2005
According to the latest National Employees Skill Survey, the North West of England has a large proportion of job vacancies that cannot be filled because of a skills shortage.
Some 18% of employers have vacancies and one-third of these are classed as skills shortage vacancies.
The skills gap is not confined to one sector - the construction industry, engineering and manufacturing, hospitality and leisure industries all report a skills shortage.
The Politics Show in the North West has been finding out what is being done to plug the gap in the region.
Engineering today can be far more complex than nuts and bolts...
BAE Systems is one of the area's biggest employers with sites in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.
The company is also the largest single provider of apprenticeships in the UK.
Currently BAE have 1000 apprentices - 332 of them started in September 2006 - the company's largest ever intake.
We go behind the scenes at the BAE Systems training school in Preston - meet apprentices and see the kind of work they are being prepared for in the future.
You cannot fail to notice the number of people from Eastern Europe who are now living and working in the North West.
Many hotels rely on foreign workers...
The five star Lowry Hotel in Manchester has 28 employees from countries such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania working in all areas of the hotel.
The general manager of the hotel, John Philipson, says that workers from Eastern Europe are excellent workers, receptive to training and personable with guests.
Without them there would be a huge skills gap in the hospitality industry.
Join Tony Wilson on the Politics Show on Sunday 22 October 2006 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.
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