IS Skills strategy slow off the starting blocks

first_img Comments are closed. Employers are expressing frustration at the Government’s slow but steadyprogress towards implementing its skills strategy. “I’ve not seen much evidence of things actually happening and don’t getthe feeling there’s a huge amount being driven forward,” says JanetBerkman head of Education and Skills at the manufacturers’ organisation EEF. Berkman was speaking to Training Magazine in response to the first progressreport since publication of the White Paper in July last year. The update wasgiven in December at the second meeting of the Skills Alliance which pullstogether employer bodies and delivery partners and which has been formed todrive progress. Employers have generally welcomed proposals as a move in the rightdirection, but are frustrated by the speed of the implementation. For Berkmanthe priority is making qualifications more flexible. Berkman is disappointed that the age cap for Modern Apprentice funding hasonly been lifted for those starting before their 25th birthday and not beyond. Microsoft, as a training provider and an employer, also wants to see thequalifications framework simplified. David Burrows, director of Education andSkills Development, said: “The complexity of the vocational qualificationsframework is perhaps the major barrier to reform. If we struggle to understandthe web of courses and qualifications we’re never going to get started.” Burrows believes there is a need for a balance between credibility andsimplicity in the system which means either thinning out the number ofqualifications to a smaller core or making them more transferable.”Although there’s a lot of work going on, little has really happened toreduce duplication. The Government has to take the lead and we need to do itnow.” Anne Lindsay, Senior Policy Adviser – Education and Skills at the CBI,agrees, She told Training Magazine: “Our members support a more unit-basedapproach, but we’re concerned that it’s going to be a very long time beforeemployers see changes. It’s an area where we think there is potential forinterim measures which could make a difference now.” In its response to the White Paper, the CBI called for a reform of fundingfor publicly provided training towards a more customer-focused system. “The Government has gone some way, but we don’t think it has not gonefar enough. We won’t see real change in terms of provision unless we take amore radical approach to the way public training is funded. We think theGovernment could do more to open up competition,” said Lindsay. Employer Training Pilots have been welcomed. The scheme delivers free,tailor-made training, accredited to level 2 and compensates employers for timeemployees are away from their job. It has been hailed as a means of stimulatingSMEs to train. The Skills Alliance was formed to drive forward the Skills Strategydelivery. A social partnership made up of Government departments, the CBI, TUCand the SBC will agree broad direction and take a strategic perspective. www.dfes.gov.uk/skillsstrategyBy Elaine EsserySkills progress– Additional £30m for Skills for Business network– Expansion of Employer Training Pilots and an extra £190m– New Business Link website – Adult learning grants introduced in 10 LSC areas– Full funding for Modern Apprentices starting before 25– LSC discussion document on reform of FE funding and fees– 250 Centres of Vocational Excellence – First Regional Skills Partnerships to be in place from April2004 Previous Article Next Article IS Skills strategy slow off the starting blocksOn 1 Feb 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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