TUC calls for overhaul of training to help plug skills gap

An urgent overhaul of training is needed to address the serious skills gaps crippling many parts of the economy, the TUC has warned.

TUC research based on a number of reports on skills, including those from the London School of Economics, the Work Foundation and the Department for Education and Skills, reveals that a third of businesses do not offer any training to their staff and almost two-fifths of the workforce received no training last year.

Those least likely to get trained are in semi-skilled and manual jobs. Three-fifths of employers offered some form of training to their professional staff in the past year, but less than half made the same offer to their staff in manual jobs. This is despite the fact employers say that staff in these jobs have the greatest skills gaps.

The report, Training, who gets it?, warns that a shift of onus from the company to the individual to meet training needs will keep the bulk of training budgets the preserve of the more confident and better-qualified staff.

Sixty-two per cent of companies expect the responsibility for training to shift more to the individual employee in the future.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “If individuals are expected to take greater responsibility of their own training needs, we will have a situation where whoever shouts the loudest, or knows how the training system works, will get the most out of the training budget.

“This report shows that if businesses really want value for money from their training, then they must find out what their staff need. Token-gesture training for the masses and expensive training for the elite will not address the real problems of workers unable to keep up with the fast-changing, modern world of business.”

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