Low skills workers high on list for development

A new
report predicts employers will come under increasing pressure to change their
approach to staff development, which at present favours high-fliers at the
expense of unqualified employees.

This
is the conclusion of the report, Not very qualified – raising skill levels
in the UK workforce,
by the Industrial Society. The report, which predicts
the Government’s forthcoming review of workforce development will lead to
greater intervention to encourage UK businesses to broaden workplace training.

The
report emphasises that managers and graduates are up to five times more likely
to receive work-based training than employees in unskilled jobs or without
qualifications.

It
also reveals that the UK average for training hours per year is 99.5 per
participating person, which is 35 hours below the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development average and well behind all other European
countries.

“This
Government is determined to snap firms out of their persistent low skills
mindset.

Under-investment
and under participation in workforce development is the primary cause of our
low productivity. With the productivity gap high on the political agenda,
employers can expect significant intervention in workforce training in the near
future,” said Andy Westwood, deputy director of policy at the Industrial
Society.

The
report dismisses claims by employers’ bodies that a large proportion of
workplace training is not counted because it is informal and does not lead to a
recognised qualification.

It
stresses that the Government review will have to consider the economic
importance of many low skill, high productivity jobs and accept upskilling may
not be the cure-all for every business.

The
report states that action by the UK’s network of business support organisations
such as National Training Organisations, Regional Development Agencies and
Business Links is as important as new polices attempting to deliver higher
skill levels.

www.indsoc.co.uk

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