Skills supremo meets the rivals in whirlwind China trip

UK skills supremo Chris Humphries returns from China today (Tuesday) after a five-day trip to help the fast-growing economy with its own training problems.

Humphries, chief executive of the Commission for Employment and Skills (CES), spoke at a Chinese skills conference, visit vocational schools and put in an appearance at a major education equipment fair.

His speech at the 2008 China Vocational Education Reform and Development Forum was on ‘how to engage employers in working with government to create a dynamic and effective vocational education and training system’.

The CES was founded last year to build a UK workforce qualified to compete with emerging economies such as China. The 2006 Leitch Review warned that the UK needed to make great strides to avoid being left in China and India’s wake from 2020.

Humphries told Personnel Today earlier this year that the UK skills system needed to be made more employer friendly.

“An early focus of the commission will be how can we simplify the skills system for employers and how can we convince them they will not wind up in bureaucracy?” he said.

Humphries previously spent seven years as director-general of training at awards body City & Guilds. He was director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce from 1998-2001, and a founder member of the Learning and Skills Council.

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