Singing the same song?

month the new head of the Learning and Skills Council takes up his post to
prepare for its official launch in April, when the LSC will replace the
Training and Enterprise Councils. Patrick McCurry asks key players whether it
will make a difference

Chief executive, Learning and Skills Council

Learning and Skills Council will give business a major role.

will bring a sharper strategic focus to decisions about how and where to spend
money – overcoming problems of limited choice in some occupational areas and
over provision in others.

will decide how and where to pump prime development work in response to new
business demands. And it will also ensure that the right infrastructure is in

LSC will also recognise and react quickly to more immediate skill needs –
brokering short specialist courses or in-house training to meet a specific

by working closely with the new Small Business Service, there will be a
seamless service for small businesses on workforce development and business

it will also bring strength and resource to areas that have not been well
considered to date, such as compiling information on sector skill requirements
and appropriate learning provision.

will play a key role in providing information with a sector focus, and those
who represent business on the local LSC councils will work closely with the NTO
for their sector.

CEO, Investors in People

look forward to working closely with the LSC and hope it will provide a strategic
approach at national level within which Investors in People and other
initiatives can fit.

is important that the right balance is struck between the central council and
the local LSCs so that the national strategy can be applied locally with full
involvement at ground level.

hoping the new framework will lead to better links for young people between
what happens at school and the skills they need afterwards.

the moment there is a cut-off point at age 16, but if the LSC can get employers
involved more it should be possible to increase integration between school
learning and work training.

far as employer involvement goes, it is sensible that business will make up 30
per cent of the LSC local boards and that should lead to those employers
working closely with training providers to ensure the right skills are being

would hope this new network will mean employers will be asked what is needed,
what is not working and what can be done better.

of information and good practice among the local LSCs will be very important.

Adviser on training and development, CIPD

people felt the Tecs were not delivering everything they should, particularly
in the area of intermediate, work-based skills, so if the LSC can fill that gap
it will be welcome.

also hoping the LSC will have more involvement with CIPD members at local level
compared with the Tecs, as the Tecs made a big attempt to involve managing
directors of employers, which is not necessarily the best solution.

hope there will be genuine changes with the LSC, but I’m not that optimistic
because the record of central government initiatives in training is not
particularly good. With the LSCs the Government is making an attempt to
introduce more of a market in training.

colleges are already much more market-aware, but the problem has been
distortions caused by the funding mechanisms, which means training providers
are often judged by “bums on seats” rather than how useful that actual training

not sure whether those distortions will change in the future and hope it is not
a case of plus ça change…

Director of education, The Industrial Society

of the dangers is that in some cases Tecs are seeing the changes as simply a transfer
to the Learning and Skills Council. They think that it’s just a question of
changing the name on the door, and I’m worried that the DfEE is almost
regarding this view as inevitable.

of this danger I am actually in favour of some centralisation, if that is
what’s required to ensure the Government’s objectives are implemented, that the
LSC acts in a new way and that the relationship with local training
stakeholders is re-energised.

are a lot of training initiatives out there, from the LSC to individual
learning accounts, University for Industry and Gordon Brown’s network of ICT
learning centres, and I’m not sure the DfEE has really co-ordinated them.

think there could be a danger of confusion at local level when the LSC is
launched next year.

CEO, Further Education Development Agency

of the aims of the LSC is to connect young adults’ learning more closely with
the real world, which is a good idea, but whether you can rely on individuals
sitting on committees to achieve that remains to be seen.

the LSC will offer employers the chance to exercise a leadership role, many are
used to the Tecs and may see the new arrangements as more bureaucratic and as
part of a big, national quango.

the other hand, unlike the Tecs, local boards will have access to the whole

Tecs had a more limited role than the LSC and were seen as focusing a lot on
the unemployed, which isn’t always what employers are interested in.

local LSCs will be county-sized and cover wider geographical areas than Tecs,
and they will be trying to

together a number of training strands at local and sectoral level. Their job
could be complicated by the fact the new regional development agencies will be
carrying out regional skills analyses.

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