Anger as publishing industry left out of sector skills drive

The chief executive of the publishing National Training Organisation (NTO)
has criticised the Government after the industry missed out on Sector Skills
Council status, even though it had DTI support.

The Sector Skills Councils were introduced to replace NTOs in March this
year to help employers meet their sector’s skills needs.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the publishing NTO, is unhappy her sector
was not given a Sector Skills Council despite a DTI report recommending an
urgent need for one.

DTI minister Stephen Timms described the publishing sector as one of the
biggest and most vital in the country.

But Derek Grover, director of adult learning at the Department for Education
and Skills, last week rejected the industry’s application for an SSC, saying it
was not big enough to be of economic or strategic importance.

Butcher said: "It’s an absurdity. It shows the Government is not
talking to itself by giving out contrasting statements on the same day. How can
a sector our size that includes the national and regional press not be of
strategic importance?"

Butcher believes the publishing industry, which generates revenues of more
than £30bn a year and employs 280,000 staff in 14,500 businesses, is bigger
than some of the nine sectors already granted council status.

The nine sector skills councils are audio visual industries, clothing,
agriculture, retail, oil gas and petro-chemicals, engineering and science,
footwear and textiles, social care and IT.

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