The five new Sector Skills Councils (SSC) replacing the National Training Organisations should be up and running in around three months, according to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).
John Healey, the minister for adult skills, told Personnel Today that the five trailblazer SSCs are in consultation with the government to iron out details: “I’d be very disappointed if we hadn’t got the trailblazers up and running by April. We are already looking at the next phase and at other sectors which may want an SSC," he said.
The current system will end in March and the SSCs will draw on a partnership between employers in each sector.
The five sectors chosen to be part of the SSC trailblazer scheme are:
- Land-based industries (including farming, agriculture, forestry and rural development)
- Audio visual industries
- Apparel, footwear and textiles
- Oil and gas extraction; petroleum refining and distribution; and chemical manufacture
More than 31 industries had expressed an interest in obtaining an SSC but the government chose the five which had the most backing from employers.
Business advisors are also working with other sectors and advising on how employers can get involved to help create future new councils.
Healey also criticised the NTO system for being marginal and having too little influence: "You have to look at the skills gap and then at the overall performance of the NTOs. Only 8 per cent of employers had even heard of them.
"They were too small and didn’t have enough influence," he said.