EEF calls for radical shake-up of UK skills strategy

The EEF organisation, which represents manufacturers and engineering organisations, has called on the government to address the UK’s skills gap and reform the skills training system in a report published today.

There is clear evidence of flaws in the UK skills training system, with excessive bureaucracy and poor relations between the organisations involved, the EEF said.

The Learning to Change – Why the UK Skills System Must Do Better report proposes a more sector-based and demand-led approach to the skills gap.

EEF director-general, Martin Temple said: “Delivering the right level of skills is essential if UK manufacturing is to improve its performance and meet the global challenge. Recognising this, manufacturers are investing more in training, but they are being badly let down by an inadequate skills system.

“The current clutter and confusion needs to be swept away and be replaced by a sector-focused system that has the company and the individual at its heart,” he said.

The report’s key recommendations:

  • The government should adopt radical reform and introduce a sector-driven approach.
  • The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) should be combined into one body that would speak with a single voice on the development of post-16 learning and be all the more influential for it.
  • The number of sector skills councils should be reduced to enable the better use of resources and to give more focus to sector-specific skills issues.
  • The boards of the LSCs should be merged with the Regional Skills Partnerships and be enhanced with a greater level of business representation.
  • The focus of the new Sector Skills Academies should be on the delivery and/or accreditation of high-quality training provision and they should not include functions that are carried out elsewhere.
  • The Manufacturing Advisory Service should help firms to take a more strategic approach to training.
  • There should be a renewed effort to promote to business the benefits of participation in Investors in People.

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