Local government anger over failed Sector Skills Council bid

HR
professionals in local government are dismayed that ministers have overlooked
its 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 and
will replace the National Training Organisations, which will not be recognised
from March.

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

But
local government, despite the support of Socpo, the society of local government
chief executives, and the Local Government National Training Organisation,
failed to secure a SSC.

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,” he said.

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
said, “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 rethink.”

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 could receive up to £1m grant from the Government, including £100,000
straight away, to address the skills and productivity needs of each
sector.  

By Paul Nelson

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