The next couple of years are make-or-break time for vocational training, and it is you, the employers, who hold the key to making the system work.
Everyone else is doing their bit – the government has set out its vision and funding plans in the White Paper on skills, and the unions have been given a role with the funding for extra union learning representatives, supported by a national Union Academy. So now it’s up to you.
Employers should now feel that they have influence, through the sector skills councils (SSCs) and regional skills partnerships. Yet employer bodies, such as the CBI, still see the learning infrastructure as “confusing”, and overflowing with government agencies.
There are no quick and easy answers, as our Analysis on page 10 shows, but maybe the time has come to just get on with it – or at least work at finding a way through the system that suits your organisation.
National vocational qualifications might not suit everyone, but that doesn’t preclude in-house qualifications from external validation, or from working with SSCs on the core curriculum for skills academies.
Of course, many determined employers look at the national system and make it their own. We were inspired by our visit to Land Rover and Jaguar, whose joint apprenticeship scheme, as you will read about on page 22, develops young people by giving them interpersonal skills, as well as a full-time job.
If you think that your approach to developing people is worthy of our attention, then let me know at the e-mail address below.
Stephanie Sparrow, editor,