Linked sectors bid for SSC status

A partnership of employers representing the housing, property services,
facilities management and cleaning services sectors, is bidding to become a
Sector Skills Council (SSC).

The SSCs were introduced to replace the National Training Organisations
(NTOs) in March last year to help employers meet their sector’s skills needs.

The bid follows a government call for groups of employers and industries
with common interests to apply for SSC status as a way of improving skills.

In return, the Government promises greater access to public funding for
workforce development and more influence for employers on national learning and
skills policy.

The property services, housing potential and cleaning industry NTOs are
leading the bid for SSC status.

Pat Stringfellow, HR director of Rentokil Initial Cleaning and chair of the
Cleaning Industry NTO, believes a successful bid would deliver considerable
staff development benefits for employers across all four sectors.

She said: "There is a great opportunity to be grasped here. Boundaries
between our industries – surveyors, estate agents, housing associations,
facilities managers and cleaning organisations – are blurring.

"By coming together as a skills council, we can focus on the factor
most critical to our success, which is the right workforce skills, now and in
the future."

Ted Harthill, chairman of the Property Services NTO, urged employers
represented by the bid to support the initiative through their website.

So far, only two sectors have been awarded full SSC status: E-Skills (the IT
Sector Skills Council) and SEMTA (the Science Engineering Manufacturing
Technology Alliance Skills Council).

There are also five sectors with trail-blazer status and nine have
development contracts.

By Ben Willmott

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