Skills chair claims UK will ‘struggle’ to hit Leitch Review targets

The UK will “struggle” to meet the skills targets set out in the Leitch Review, a senior figure has admitted.

Jean Llewellyn, chair of the employer-led National Skills Academy Strategic Network, said she was not confident that the huge mission would be completed.

Her comments contradict former skills minister David Lammy, who insisted last month that he left his post with the UK on course to hit the Leitch Review targets.

Lord Sandy Leitch set the government ambitious targets in December 2006, including getting more than 90% of adults trained to Level 2. He warned that the UK faced a bleak economic future unless it met these targets.

But Llewellyn told Personnel Today: “It will be a struggle. The right infrastructure is being put in place now we need to give things time to settle in and get embedded.

“The targets are huge. We will make great progress but I’m not sure we will meet every single one.”

The National Skills Academies were set up to allow employers to shape the training delivered in their industry. Llewellyn is also chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, and said the industry was facing its own training battle as it closed down old power stations and built new ones.

“There is a major skills challenge,” she said. “We are going into decommissioning and then new build. There is not a skills crisis at the moment but if we don’t do something immediately, there will be one.”

Llewellyn said she was working hard to ensure the nuclear sector embraced the Skills Passport scheme, which allows workers to take training from one employer to another.

She also insisted that British workers would be in a position to fill most of the jobs created at the new plants.

Tim Boylin, HR director at power firm EDF Energy, last said the firm may need to look to its French parent company to supply specialist nuclear workers if it was building nuclear sites.

But Llewellyn said: “While we will always need the odd specialist – we want to learn expertise from the French – we are here to make sure we can access jobs. We are confident most of the jobs will be filled by British workers.”

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