Learning and Skills Council director defends UK record on talent development

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has defended the UK’s training record and insisted it is tackling employers’ concerns about the skills crisis.

David Greer, the council’s director of skills for employers, told Personnel Today: “Employers’ organisations, such as the EEF and the CBI, have an important role to play in policy-­making and we are dealing with their concerns about skills shortages and productivity issues.

“We have a complex skills landscape in the UK, and we are working with employers to identify issues and offer some solutions.”

Greer insisted the current UK skills system, which has been described by the CBI and the EEF respectively as “dysfunctional” and “congested”, was good enough for employers, he said

“Let’s not move the deckchairs. We have a strong system in place,” he added.

Greer cited the success of the LSC’s Train to Gain programme, an advisory service designed to help businesses to access training: 21,000 employers have signed up to since it was rolled out in August 2006.

“Employers are positive about the Train to Gain programme and the advantages that it can provide,” he said. “We’re targeting sectors that are critical to regional economies and identifying employers that don’t conventionally engage with training programmes.”

The government also aims to have up to 12 National Skills Academies for different industries up and running by 2008. So far, academies for construction, financial services, manufacturing and food and drink have all been approved for the £90m programme.

Last week, chancellor Gordon Brown delivered a stark warning that unskilled workers could have no job prospects within a decade. The pace of globalisation meant these workers were “at risk of being unemployed” as highly skilled jobs replace lower-skilled roles, he said.

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