HC Deb 17 April 1996 vol 275 c710
20. Mr. Sheerman

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to improve the quality of senior managers in British manufacturing industry. [23937]

Mr. Eggar

The Government have been working with a wide range of organisations to promote and improve senior management skills which are an essential component of improving competitiveness.

Mr. Sheerman

The Minister will know that, apart from the low quality of Ministers in the Department of Trade and Industry, the most difficult barrier that our manufacturing industry faces is a scarcity of high-quality managers. Will he speak to Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya and look at the Warwick experience in terms of training high-quality manufacturing managers? We need a scheme that clones or replicates that development of qualified and specialised postgraduate managers. If we did that, we could start to repair some of the damage that the Government have done to our manufacturing sector.

Mr. Eggar

The hon. Gentleman rightly pays tribute to the work of the university of Warwick, and I join him in that. He fails, however, to recognise the considerable increase in the number of graduate business schools which are developing manufacturing expertise among senior management. He fails also to pay tribute to the work done at those business schools. Any fair-minded analysis of the present state of British manufacturing industry would recognise that there has been a considerable change in the quality of management at all levels. I also pay tribute to most of the work force in British manufacturing industry, whose skills have improved dramatically since the late 1970s.

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