Government aims for 25 skills councils by 2004

The Government has announced ambitious plans to get 25 Sector Skills
Councils (SSCs) up and running by the summer of 2004 in its Skills Strategy
White Paper.

21st Century Skills – Realising Our Potential: Individuals, Employers,
Nation identifies a network of SSCs as key to identifying and delivering the
skills employers need to raise productivity.

The Government claims that the Skills for Business Network will create a new
employer-led approach to developing skills and boosting productivity.

Sector Skills Councils are employer-led training bodies that replaced the
National Training Organisations last March.

SSCs will cover 90 per cent of the UK workforce in 12 months’ time, says the
Government. However, only two councils have been fully licensed so far. The
White Paper recognises "concerns about delays and bureaucracy".

Ros Barker, HR director at Ladbrokes, who is helping establish an SSC to
cover the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector, said development to
date had been frustrating.

"There is no evidence that the problems are being ironed out, but we
have to hope lessons will be learned from the vanguard," she said.

The skills strategy also proposes SSCs should work with Regional Development
Agencies and Learning and Skills Councils to address regional skills shortages.

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