Government proposals to extend regulatory measures on training would hinder employer investment and do nothing to increase skills levels, the CBI has warned.
Ministers are looking at a number of measures to establish how businesses can take on more responsibility for skills training, including proposals to extend training levies and licence-to-practice schemes.
Training levies operate by charging employers within certain sectors a proportion of their wage bill, which is pooled and used to fund training grants. In licence-to-practice schemes, workers are required to be trained to a certain level before they obtain a professional licence to work in sectors such as care, security and construction.
According to a report published today by the CBI, businesses already invest £39 billion per year in training, a proportion of which is spent on literacy and numeracy training to “make up for shortfalls in the education system”.
The report argues that the best way to achieve better skills training in the workplace is through voluntary measures that work with organisations, instead of regulatory measures, which, the CBI claims, have no support from employers.
Susan Anderson, director for education and skills at the CBI, commented: “Employers already invest heavily in training for their staff and they recognise their crucial role in supporting sustainable growth by improving the skills of future generations.
“Our report finds a wealth of good practice amongst employers of all sizes that are developing the skills of their staff by a range of methods including formal qualifications, but also on-the-job coaching.”
The CBI added that official figures do not always capture the proportion of firms operating informal on-the-job training and so underestimate the extent of business activity in this area.