Millions denied training
Almost eight and a half million UK workers receive no training from their employers, according to the TUC.
General secretary Brendan Barber said: “The government must legislate to make sure that workers get paid time off work to train. Employers should stop complaining so much about the skills levels of their staff and spend more training them.
“Despite many government initiatives, one in three employers are denying training to millions of staff who need it most.”
According to the recently published TUC report, 2020 Vision for Skills, the West Midlands has the worst training record, with 44% of the region’s almost one million-strong workforce receiving no training. The North East has the best record, claims the TUC, with 70% of its workforce receiving training.
It added that “only 11.5% of employees were training towards a nationally recognised qualification, and only 5.5% were receiving training leading towards an NVQ”.
The 2020 Vision for Skills report sets out five demands that the TUC wants included in the upcoming Leitch Report, an independent Government-sponsored review of the UK’s training needs being undertaken by businessman Lord Leitch.
The demands are: employers and government must invest more in adult skills unions must be partners in government skills strategies legal rights for paid time off to train must be granted positive action to tackle skills discrimination must be initiated and unions and workers must have an equal voice in workplace skills training.
In December 2005, Lord Leitch published an interim report on UK skills issues and said the scale of the challenge is “daunting”. It predicted that by 2020, nearly “20 million additional people will need higher skills levels than at present, ranging from basic skills to degree-level ones”.
The final Leitch review is due to be published in November. The TUC’s training provision figures were based on the latest National Employer Skills Survey.
It’s all in the game
Can board games really improve sales training?
Perry Burns, managing director of sales training company Sales 101, hopes so – he has mortgaged his house to pay for the development of a board game for use in training sales people. Called Sales Master, it comprises twin-track games played on a board not too dissimilar to Trivial Pursuit.
The games can be played by four to 30 players, in teams or as individuals. Where players land on the board, having tossed a die, decides which question cards are drawn by the games master. These cards contain questions on various sales scenarios. If players give correct answers, they progress towards the end of the game.
Each card also links to an online sales training module located on Sales 101’s website. These modules contain more information on the sales issues raised in each card.
A one-year licence for the game and website access costs £1,350 and an annual renewal from £50.
Burns says BT’s local business unit and Crawley scientific instruments company TA Instruments have bought licences. “We hope to sell 100 to 150 licences in the next four months,” he says.
Remploy opens in Plymouth
Remploy, which provides training opportunities for the disabled, recently opened a branch in Plymouth.
Its staff will provide disabled people looking for work with training and advice on job opportunities. “There are currently more than 12,000 people receiving incapacity benefit or severe disability allowance in the Plymouth region,” says branch manager Barbara Field. “By opening a branch in the heart of the city, we’re making it easier for people to access our services, which enables us to support more people than ever to get back into work.”
Train like an Egyptian
Sales training and coaching specialist Huthwaite International hopes to win more business in the Middle East through a local partnership.
It has struck a deal with Cairo-based Logic Management Consulting (LMS), which will provide training in Huthwaite’s training and consultancy programmes, including its sales, key account management and in-house and public coaching offerings.
“This means we can offer our sales expertise in Arabic for the first time,” says Huthwaite’s international activities director, Darren Gill. LMS managing partner Mohamed Fahmy says the deal ties in with an Egyptian government initiative to improve local business skills.
Bully for him
One-time hostage John McCarthy will speak at anti-bullying seminars next month.
McCarthy, who was held hostage by Islamic Jihad militants in Lebanon from 1986 to 1991, will address delegates at two drama-based workshops to be held next month.
The workshops will focus on how to create a culture of respect in the workplace.
McCarthy, who was working as a TV journalist when he was kidnapped in Beirut, will talk about how his experience of maintaining dignity in humiliating and degrading circumstances can help delegates understand the nature of respect.
The workshops will be put on by drama-based learning specialist Steps Drama in Manchester and London.
Also appearing will be the Co-op’s head of diversity Amanda Jones, who will describe how the retailer rolled out its anti-bullying campaign. This included training 140 senior managers and showing a training film to more than 65,000 Co-op employees.
Results from a website that tests Microsoft Office skills indicate a need for more training for desktop skills.
More than 4,300 tests were completed on Ms-iq.com in the three months to 31 July.
Each test asked users to answer 15 multiple-choice questions, with the most frequent score being six.
“This is not much higher than someone choosing random answers would achieve,” says the site’s creator Andy Brown. “Many people must be struggling to complete relatively simple office tasks.” He adds that the expected score for random answers would be 3.75.
Word and Excel were the most popular tests. Only 90 of the 4,300 tests taken got full marks.