The Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) has released a report which calls for "better and closer links" between employers and colleges.

It believes that by making these connections stronger, "future skills gaps" will be avoided and productivity will increase, which will ultimately be a good thing for businesses and employees.

In particular, the report, entitled Reaching Further: Workforce development through employer-FE college partnership, suggests that bridging the gap will help companies to weather future economic storms.

Commenting on the study, Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, said: "The case for greater collaboration between employers and colleges is compelling – being flexible and competitive is even more important for firms during a recession.

"We need to see more businesses considering what colleges can offer, and thinking clearly about their own training needs."

The report suggests that it is important for companies to consider training their staff to "improve business performance".

Environmental Monitoring Solutions Ltd (EMS) recently secured funding for 14 of its staff to undertake a level two NVQ in Environmental Conservation.