Business secretary Vince Cable used his opening speech at this year's Bett show to urge the business world to help the government cope with the "staggering" growth of the education sector.
At the event, taking place at London's ExCeL centre this week, Cable (pictured) spoke of how "education has become a massive industry, second only to healthcare" in terms of global spending. The total value of goods and services bought by education bodies in 2013 will be $4.5tn, he claimed, rising to $6.5tn by 2017.
The business secretary added that the UK has struggled to cope with the rise in the number of students attending university, claiming that our system was designed for a world in which only one in 10 people went into further education, compared with the current rate of four in 10.
"The financial model is hard to change, and it has been very painful and politically toxic," he added.
Cable outlined that none of the 10 most-needed positions in today's job market existed a decade ago.
"Part of that is technology change; e-learning up 25 per cent a year, and there has been the emergence of MOOCs (massive open online courses).That is an organisational and technical challenge," he said.
He outlined that the government is relying on technology firms and the rest of the business world to help cope with the UK's needs.
"We have an industrial strategy, trying to work in partnership with business and trying to think long term," he said. "We are doing that with the obvious industries, aerospace, motor cars and life sciences. But there are some really big emerging technologies in the UK."
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