Strong partnership needed for a vibrant and effective skills system

30 January 2014

The publication, today, of the Employer Skills Survey from UKCES has reinforced some of NIACE’s concerns about current skills training for adults. NIACE Chief Executive, David Hughes, said:

“This survey reinforces our concerns about handing over the ownership of the entire skills system to employers. To have a vibrant and effective skills system that meets the needs of business and wider society, it has to be led by a partnership of employers, learners and Government and must balance their interests.

“It is encouraging that two-thirds of employers provide training for their staff and the very best employers have got a lot to offer in making the skills system operate more effectively. Good employers demonstrate how skills and workforce development improve productivity, business success and social mobility. These are critical to the future well-being of our economy and our society.

“I am also pleased to be able to congratulate those employers who continue to make major investments in training for their staff and for their achievements. We will be celebrating what the best employers do as part of Adult Learners’ Week in June with the aim of other employers being inspired to follow their lead.

“However, there are enormous challenges in the survey results. Individual employees have received fewer days training and total employer investment in training has decreased since 2009.  A third of employees – potentially 10 million people – receive no training whatsoever and participation in training varies significantly depending on your occupation; the sector you work in and size of business where you work.

“If you step back from this survey and look at other evidence, including our own annual participation survey, this points to the need to stimulate informed demand for learning from young people, adults and employers. The only way you can achieve that kind of informed demand and ensure that there are enough people with the right level of skills for a successful economy and an inclusive society is through a partnership of employers, learners, Government and colleges and training providers working together.”