I read with interest the feedback given by Christopher Banks regarding the money being ‘wasted’ on the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) skills campaign (Letters, Personnel Today, 21 August).
Having had some exposure to most of the initiatives this and past governments have pushed out, Train to Gain has to be one of the most misguided, for the following reasons:
- There is no free training, only free assessment, which can mean anything to anyone.
- There is a cost involved to the employer with regards to time to complete, lost production and downtime of machines etc.
- There is an obsession with gaining level 2 qualifications when most employers are interested in competency.
- Most of those in work are already skilled to some degree and, therefore, already contributing to the economy.
- It’s not the employer’s responsibility to make up for the government’s lack of ability to provide young people fit for purpose.
- The skills brokers often lack business nous.
The bottom line is: if an employer has staff doing the job they are paid for, happy to do it and are treated well, then what possible ‘benefit’ can be gained by the employer? I continually ask: “If I put employees onto a scheme like this, what will they be able to do today that they could not do yesterday that will add value to our business?” Invariably the answer is: “I don’t know.”
The LSC continually talks of the number of employers it has “engaged” – in other words, these are the numbers they have spoken to or are about to speak to at some point. They should be quoting numbers taking up the scheme and the numbers completing, which fall way short of the targets set by the government. It should also be transparent regarding which sectors are taking up Train to Gain. I suspect a lot of the numbers come from the public sector.
I think this money would be better spent giving upfront funding for young people not already in employment, to gain some real practical skills. However, this would be an admission that the current education system has failed. And we can’t have that, given the record levels of GCSE passes recently announced in the press.
Senior personnel and safety officer