There are “reassuring” signs the economy is continuing to recover and there is a “more upbeat mood” among the business community, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.
He told the CBI’s annual conference the UK needed to do more to drive exports to fast-growing countries.
To help do this he said the government was continuing to focus on raising the number of skilled engineers.
He highlighted grant schemes to encourage firms to take on apprentices.
“In the UK we have had a difficult time, but there are some reassuring figures on job creation, falling unemployment and business start-ups,” Mr Cable said.
“If the more upbeat mood in business is to be sustained, there has to be a clear pathway resumed, and then sustained growth out of the financial crisis.”
Mr Cable said other work the government was doing to help boost the numbers of young engineers included its University Technical Colleges scheme, under which up to 24 new colleges are being set up by 2014 to provide about 20,000 14 to 19-year-olds with training in a number of engineering, science and technical disciplines.
He also highlighted the See Inside Manufacturing campaign, which shows young people around some of the UK’s largest industrial companies.
Regarding the number of apprentices, Mr Cable said those part-funded by the government had increased to more than one million in the last two years, growth of 60%.
Earlier, CBI president Sir Roger Carr also told the conference he wanted to see the UK focus more on exporting, “not just to China and India, but Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and, of course, South America”.