The skills secretary has claimed manufacturers which have been forced to reduce their production should send their staff on training courses, it has been reported.

Speaking to the House of Commons, John Denham said employees should not be left with nothing to do if a factory is shut for a period of time and called on companies to work closer with local colleges to allow training to be carried out during downtime, according to the Birmingham Post.

The minister pointed to the examples of JCB, which arranged for it staff to undergo training at Derby College while its factory closes for an extra week over the New Year, and Nissan, which is also working to increase access to learning courses.

Mr Denham said: “We know that companies that invest in training are two-and-a-half times more likely to survive a recession than those who don’t.

He added that “this kind of approach is better for staff morale and better for the long-term future of the business too”, the newspaper reported.

Recently, Victor Smart, a spokesperson for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, said employees with up-to-date skills are more likely to have job security through the current financial crisis.