More than 550 employers have signed the skills pledge to access Train to Gain services

Employers are becoming increasingly interested in the skills of their staff since the Leitch Review was published, although leading business groups warn there is still a long way to go.

More than 550 private and public sector organisations have now signed the government’s skills pledge – a key recommendation of the review for employers to train their workforce to Level 2.

Online ticket seller Ticketmaster, one of the first companies to sign the skills pledge in June and gain access to Train to Gain services, said the brokerage service had helped training and recruitment.

“The Train to Gain scheme has allowed us to recruit a group of committed, highly motivated employees to our call centre, improving attrition, buy-in and morale,” a spokeswoman said.

However, many firms that signed the pledge earlier this year, including McDonald’s, Ford and Stagecoach, said they were already providing vocational training before the Leitch Review.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said: “Thousands of our drivers have gone through a vocational training programme equivalent or beyond Level 2. But that is not as a result of Leitch – it’s been in place for years.”

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said the government should now focus on higher education skills – Levels 3 and 4 – to really encourage employers to invest in their workforce.

CIPD training adviser John McGurk said: “There is an over-focus on the bottom-end of the skills market, and getting people to Level 2. But [employers] should be concerned that university graduates are not speaking other languages as that’s a big part of competing in a global talent market.”

CBI director-general Richard Lambert said: “The jury is still out on Train to Gain. There are pledges all over the place, but we need to see implementation.”

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