4.2 Intermediate and higher-level skills
Why is it significant? 
In order to improve efficiency and productivity and take advantage of new opportunities, firms increasingly require workers who can generate new ideas, adapt to new technology and adopt best practice.

How does the UK perform?
Whilst international comparisons of educational attainment need to be treated with some caution, the data shows that the UK falls behind the US, Canada and Japan in terms of tertiary (higher) education but performs well by European standards (chart 4.2.1).
The Government has put in place complementary and interlocking strategies to transform young people’s learning within and beyond compulsory education. These focus on attainment at level 2 and level 3, which chart 4.2.2 shows to have increased slightly in 2003, after a fall in 2002. Between 2002 and 2004 the aim is a 3 percentage point increase in level 2 attainment at 19, and by 2006 a further 3 percentage point increase over 2004.