Johnson set on collision course over skills crisis

Everyone admits the UK has a skills crisis, as demonstrated by the reams of print dedicated to the subject. But it seems that while we all agree there’s a problem, no-one can agree on the best way to tackle it.

Education secretary Alan Johnson, for instance, is adamant that employers should not concern themselves with accrediting their own training courses. Yet the CBI position is that employer-led training initiatives are the way forward.

A key facet of the CBI’s point of view is that, given the short timescale imposed on employers by the Leitch Skills Review – ‘sort it by 2010 or else’ – action needs to be taken quickly. And as employers already have training schemes in place, it seems eminently sensible to give at least some of those courses some form of accreditation.

However, by immediately ruling out the CBI’s suggestion, Johnson is slamming the door on constructive dialogue about tackling the skills crisis.

That’s no way to get buy-in to what, after all, is a critical issue for all the UK’s employers. But then perhaps our ambitious education minister has had his mind on other things of late.

Private equity’s not so bad

Private equity firms have been defending themselves having taken a bashing over the perception that they buy up companies and immediately cut the workforce.

But if that’s the harsh medicine required to ensure a company thrives rather than dives, surely it’s the sensible thing to do.

It may create difficulties for those who lose their jobs, but it’s often the case that more jobs are created further down the line. And either way, HR has a crucial role to play.

After all, businesses are there to make money. And the people working for them are paid to help them achieve that aim.

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