The government has assured employers they will not be hit in the pocket or lose staff despite plans to give all adults a legal right to training.
Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain and skills secretary John Denham last week revealed that free training to attain five Cs at GCSE, or a vocational equivalent, would be proposed in the Education and Skills Bill.
In a joint statement, the ministers said: “Under the legislation, all adults will be entitled to free provision to let them master the basics of literacy and numeracy, and to move on to their first full Level 2 qualifications which are so critical to employability.”
Employers were concerned that this could mean they were forced to train their staff – but the government moved to quash these fears.
A spokesman for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills told Personnel Today: “There will be no requirement for employers to pay for this or to provide employees with time off. We hope people will be able to train in the evening, or be given time off voluntarily.”
The Leitch Review suggested training of staff to Level 2 be made mandatory by 2010 if not enough employers had signed the skills pledge.