Public workers lose edge on private sector over training

Training
for some workers in the public sector is declining despite a pledge by the
Government to improve the quality of public services.

New
research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council finds that the
advantage in terms of access to training traditionally held by public sector
staff over their private sector counterparts has begun to ebb away.

The
study suggests that while some jobs now require more skills and development,
others are being downgraded with reduced access to training.

Better
equipment or working techniques mean that staff often do the same amount of
work in fewer hours, resulting in fewer opportunities or incentives for formal
training.

In
some areas of the public sector deskilling has also had an impact, with skilled
members of staff being forced to carry out mundane, routine jobs.

Some
State Enrolled Nurses have been regraded as care assistants and skilled workers
such as carpenters and electricians have been reduced to carrying out
maintenance work.

The
report finds there is little incentive for these employees to take up learning
because their skills are not being used.

It
also states that staff training suffers when services are contracted out,
despite the Government’s adaptation of contacting out regulations through
instructing local councils to include factors other than cost in the tendering
process.

Other
factors blamed for the decline in training include increasing workloads and low
staff levels that make it difficult for managers to find cover during training
courses.

www.esrc.ac.uk

By
Ross Wigham

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