David Cameron has said manufacturers in the UK need to learn lessons from Germany, after industry output in the UK reached its lowest level in 20 years.
Industry is the sector of the economy targeted for growth by the government but the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported a 0.8% drop in industry output in October.
On a visit to the Solihull plant of Jaguar Land Rover on Friday, Cameron said there was a skills deficit which was hampering the competitiveness of industry in the UK.
He said industry should concentrate on skills that will be needed in the next generation of workers. "We need frankly to have a more Germanic approach to that skills deficit. I think we will crack it, but it will take time."
Kathy Woodward, chief executive of the BPIF, said the print industry needed to be more dynamic in developing its skill base and should look at involving the whole supply chain.
"Output efficiency will of course go up if we have less overcapacity in the industry. There are two ways to tackle this: take out capacity and support increased sales through greater understanding and develop the ability to sell the effectiveness of print and its role in supporting alternative media.
"It would be great if the government gave the same level of commitment to implementing these programmes and supporting local markets as some other European countries.
"Most European countries place their Government print locally. Holland benefited from more than £10million European funding to support the restructure of the printing industry," she said.
Cameron made the comments after The City had put the UK on triple-dip recession alert following news that production in the North Sea had fallen by almost 50% in the past three years and again in the past month.
The previous day, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had reported that imports of goods and services in October outweighed exports by £3.6bn – a £1.4bn increase on September while the deficit on trade in goods grew from £8.5bn in September to £9.5bn in October.