British Chambers of Commerce sign Leitch skills pledge

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has agreed to support the government’s skills pledge, despite its recent criticism of the closing of its main skills funding vehicle, the Learning and Skills Council.

However, David Frost, director general of the BCC, agreed to sign the pledge only after receiving assurances from the government that the pledge is a commitment from the government to help employers ensure the correct skills for their employees.

Frost also pledged to promote the skills programme to chamber members across the UK, which will include running a series of regional road-shows.

“After talking to the department [for innovation, universities and skills] we have been reassured that the government is committed to working with employers to ensure that employees have the necessary skill sets to make a full contribution to the success of their company,” Frost said.

John Denham, secretary of state for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said: “The skills pledge offers a clear way for employers across the country to show their commitment to training. With over 3.3 million employees nationwide covered by skills pledge, we’re making great progress – but we need to do more at a local and regional level and encourage further involvement from SMEs.

Only last week, Frost expressed his “utter amazement” at the government’s decision to close the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), its chief skills funding vehicle.

Frost said a constant change in agencies has held back the development of much-needed vocational qualifications.

“We have seen little progress in vocational qualifications because of a constant reshuffling of deck-chairs,” he said. “The LSC alone has been through three major changes since its inception in 2001, and the business community sits back in utter amazement, bemused by government’s latest announcement. It should be getting on with the job.”

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