A new initiative to make it easier for UK manufacturers to access quality training and development has been launched today (20 August).

Called the Manufacturing Skills Alliance, the scheme aims to get colleges, universities and government working with industry so employers always have a ready supply of people with the right skills at the right time.

It also recognises that people working in manufacturing need to develop flexible skills that can adapt to shifts in demand.

As well as helping to develop new qualifications and new routes into industry, the Alliance also wants to see smaller, flexible, modular and standards-based qualifications that match the way employers actually train their workers.

"In order to compete in the global market, many UK manufacturers are working at the top end of the market, selling on quality and innovation," said Linda Florance, chief executive of Skillfast-UK, the sector skills council for fashion and textiles.

"To do this effectively, manufacturers need a highly-skilled workforce, but there is still much to be done to create and education and training system capable of meeting manufacturers' needs.

"Through this alliance across the manufacturing sectors, we hope we will be able to increase the impetus behind action on skills."