Employers will come under increasing pressure to change
their approach to staff development, which at present favours high-fliers at
the expense of unqualified employees.
This is the conclusion of an Industrial Society report, which
predicts that the Government’s forthcoming review of workforce development will
lead to greater intervention to encourage UK businesses to broaden workplace
The report emphasises that managers and graduates are up to
five times more likely to receive work-based training than employees in
unskilled jobs or without qualifications.
It also reveals that the UK average for training hours per
year is 99.5 per participating person, which is 35 hours below the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development average and well behind all other
“This Government is determined to snap firms out of their
persistent low skills mindset. Under-investment and under participation in
workforce development is the primary cause of our low productivity. With the
productivity gap high on the political agenda, employers can expect significant
intervention in workforce training in the near future,” said Andy Westwood,
deputy director of policy at the Industrial Society.
The report Not very qualified – raising skill levels in
the UK dismisses claims by employers’ bodies that a large proportion of
workplace training is not counted because it is informal and does not lead to a
It stresses that the Government review will have to consider
the economic importance of many low skill, high productivity jobs and accept
that up-skilling may not be the cure-all for every business.
The report states that action by the UK’s network of
business support organisations such as National Training Organisations,
Regional Development Agencies and Business Links is as important as new polices
attempting to deliver higher skill levels.
The Industrial Society predicts the Government will
introduce tax credit for firms investing in training, a learning entitlement to
enable adults over 19, study towards initial level two qualifications and a
simplification of the vocational learning system.
By Ben Willmott