Local government anger at failed skills council bid

HR professionals in local government are dismayed that ministers have
overlooked the sector’s bid to be represented by one of the new Sector Skills
Councils (SSC).

The SSCs will work across the UK to reduce skills gaps and improve training,
replacing National Training Organisations, which will not be recognised from

To date, the Government has announced funding for skills councils in the
retail, audio-visual, land-based industries, clothing and textiles and the
petrochemical sectors.

But local government failed to secure a SSC, despite the support of Socpo,
the Society of Local Government Chief Executives, and the Local Government
National Training Organisation.

Keith Handley, Socpo president, said, "I am very disappointed. We’re
the biggest employer in the country with 1.2 million employees, yet in many
areas we are suffering from recruitment problems.

"Many young people are just not attracted to local government – they
are not taking up training courses that lead specifically to local government
jobs nor do they perceive a career in local government to be attractive."

Handley is worried that local government will run out of skilled staff if
more is not done to address the issue of training and development.

He added, "There are many initiatives that we need to put in place to
make us a more attractive employer. The opportunity to become a skills council
could have been one of these initiatives and I hope we can persuade the
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to think again."

The DfES claims the SSCs will give employers a more powerful voice and the
opportunity to influence government policy on education and training at an
earlier stage than under the current NTO system.

Each SSC can receive up to £1m grant from the Government, including £100,000
immediately to address the skills and productivity needs of each sector.

By Paul Nelson


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