Training chiefs call for action to boost skills
May 26 2008 by Henryk Zientek, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
TRAINING chiefs in Yorkshire have called for urgent changes to a flagship Government programme designed to boost workers’ skills.
The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, which represents 89% of UK businesses, is calling for more flexibility from the Government’s Train to Gain programme to help it better meet the needs of firms in the Yorkshire region.
Train to Gain provides impartial, independent advice on training to employers. It gives firms access to a skills broker who helps employers identify their training needs and points companies to a range of employee development schemes.
But the alliance said that while Train to Gain was working well to provide firms with “low-skill” training, many employers needed workers with high levels of skills as a minimum requirement.
The alliance said firms also favoured “bite-size” training for specific skills as well as full qualifications.
And it said Train to Gain must also offer equality of business service UK-wide – regardless of geographical location or sector.
Alliance chairman Linda Florance said the employers and trainers supported the “core objectives” of Train to Gain, but said a more tailored service would more fully meet the skills gaps identified by Yorkshire firms.
She said: “Train to Gain has reached many employers in Yorkshire – but by making the initiative more flexible, we can ensure that thousands more access training that can make a real difference to their productivity and profitability.
“By sharing information with training bodies and employers we can understand changing skills gaps on the ground and respond strategically.”
The Alliance is made up of 25 employer-led sector skills councils covering areas such as construction, the food and drink sector, textiles, engineering and chemicals.