Editor of Today's Therapist magazine, and organiser of the Health and Beauty Training Show

According to a National Skills Survey published by the Learning and Skills Council in 2004, more than one in 10 workers in England - 2.4 million people - lack the skills required to do their job. One-third of employers have no training plan to fill workforce skill gaps and one-fifth of job vacancies - 135,000 posts - remain unfilled because of a lack of skilled applicants. The survey also revealed that poor basic skills cost a typical business employing 50 people £165,000 a year and employers in London are the least likely to offer their employees training.

The Health and Beauty sectors are no different. A total of 49 per cent of the beauty therapists qualified to NVQ level 2 felt they lacked the skills to carry out their jobs effectively when questioned. The survey entitled "Occupational Analysis of the Beauty Therapy Sector", shows that over 101,000 people are employed in the hairdressing, beauty and physical well-being sectors and the results suggest that almost 50,000 industry professionals are in need of new skills or additional training.

Most people will have been for some form of health or beauty treatment at one point in their life either for a specific condition, or just a pampering. It is therefore great to know that there are professionals out there who dedicate themselves to being the best by continual training and development of current and new skills to bring the best to their clients or patients.

For professionals, it is vital to be aware of how and why ongoing professional development can improve the service that you or your establishment provides. Or maybe you haven't begun your training yet and you've no idea where to start, but you do know that you want to work in the health or beauty industry.

In a constantly changing and evolving industry, with new techniques and procedures introduced on a frequent basis, employees need to be stimulated and encouraged to enhance their development in an alternative environment to the classroom.

It is for this reason that a new exhibition - The Health and Beauty Training Show - has been launched to address these concerning skills gaps.

Exhibitors will encompass training and education in complementary therapy, health and fitness, beauty, yoga, ayurveda, NHS careers, hairdressing and business support. These are all growth sectors and are worth in excess of £4.6bn within the UK, according to Habia, one of the industry's regulating bodies.

From professionals of all levels to individuals looking to begin a career in the health or beauty sector, the Health and Beauty Training Show is an exhibition not to be missed. The organisers have endeavoured to ensure that the event will be a world away from the tedium of standard trade exhibitions concentrating upon product sales. Instead, visitors will be involved interactively throughout and can use their skills, learn new ones and meet like-minded individuals from all over the country.

The demonstration stage will allow visitors to watch the professionals in action with a regular programme of demonstrators from hairdressers to aerobic instructors. Visitors can also experience the taster zone where they can try out new techniques, such as the latest yoga disciplines, massage methods or even tips on fixing hair extensions.

The Health and Beauty Training Show is a new concept. For the first time, professionals and service providers from both sectors will exhibit together to bring information on training and education to the increasing number of individuals looking to pursue a new career or further their professional development within the Health and Beauty Sectors.

A range of exhibitors have already confirmed their spaces including national training providers, small specialised businesses and independent health and beauty publications. A full seminar and speaker programme is also planned with topics including technique, career building, marketing and scientific.

The Health and Beauty Training Show will be taking place at ExCel in London on 20-21 May 2006 (free entry). Log on to www.trainingshow.co.uk for further details. Visitors can register online to secure their place at the show.