CBI chief Richard Lambert condemns government’s slow response to Leitch review of skills

CBI director-general Richard Lambert has branded the government’s attempts to tackle the skills crisis as “lame”.

He told Personnel Today that the government had failed to act quickly or decisively enough since the Leitch Review identified the scale of the problem.

“I thought the response to the Leitch proposals was a bit lame,” said Lambert. “I thought that the government pulled back from some of the bolder recommendations.

“Leitch said that by 2010 funding should¬†be directed through employers or people being trained rather than through suppliers such as FE colleges. The government back-pedalled from that. It said that it approved of the direction of travel but that it was all a bit fast.”

Lord Leitch warned last December that the UK faced a bleak future in the globalising economy unless it ramped up the population’s skill levels. The government finally announced its official response to his report in July.

Lambert warned that the slow pace of the government’s response to the skills crisis would count against any attempts to make training compulsory.

Leitch proposed that giving workers time off to gain Level 2 training should be made compulsory in 2010 unless enough progress was being made voluntarily.

“I think the rather leisurely way the government is going about the Leitch proposals will make it very difficult for businesses to make much of a change in such a short time,” said Lambert.

“If that is used to say businesses have failed then we will stand strongly against that.”

For the full report of our interview with Richard Lambert see Personnel Today on 4 September.

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