This month’s network

A warm welcome for Sector Skills Councils

What an excellent collection of thoughts on the demise of National Training
Organisations (NTOs) and the rise of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) (Talking
Points, January). When I was director of training at the Construction
Confederation, one of the key issues in construction was that many NTOs failed
to get right the need for transparency in their mechanisms for delivering
correctly researched Labour Market Information (LMI).

Delivering bland LMI is simply not enough for stakeholders and others to
latch onto and direct their efforts to make a real difference in supporting and
improving businesses.

What I hope will happen with the new structure is that SSCs will bind
themselves more closely to the Regional Development Agency and LSC structure
and hopefully, with the support of industry, they will deliver a more
worthwhile effort to resolve the skills timebomb.

The survival of the Construction Industry Training Board and ECITB – are
perhaps proof that being truly employer-led, accountable and professional
really works.

The ECITB is excited by the challenge. SSCs are a welcome move.

Keith Aldis
Customer relationship director, ECITB

No real surprise that flawed system failed

I read with interest your Comment in the January edition ‘We can all learn
from our mistakes’ regarding the ILA’s but were you really surprised that the
system failed?

For many years there have been various groups promoting self interest, no
real quality checks on many training providers and no real feedback from those
who took courses. The result is widescale abuse of a new system that had no
realistic checks and balances in it and so some individuals within training
providers saw it as a ‘get rich quick opportunity’. It is sad to see such a
valid initiative vanish so quickly; but surprised at the outcome? I think not.

I read in the same issue that the DfES & NTO are still trying to
champion NVQ training. This is being done without looking at why employers are
unhappy to acknowledge them. Until they address the quality and validity of the
NVQ system, including the assessors, there will be valid scepticism about their
true worth.

Tony Longmire
Technical director, LGH Group

Lack of women could lead to Net exports

One journalist told me yesterday that the issue of Women in IT is greeted as
just another PC issue about being nice to women. Does it really matter that the
proportion of women in IT has fallen to less than 20 per cent?

At the moment, during a downturn, 11per cent of IT employers are telling us
they have vacancies that are hard to fill. The lack of women reduces the
recruitment pool and when the industry starts to boom again things will get

Training professionals should get involved now.

Anne Cantelo

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