Sector Skills Councils set for April start-up

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:


Retail


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.

By Ross Wigham

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