Use your HR skills to put basic training on the agenda

Employers are calling on the government to clarify the content of the ‘pledge’ that they will be required to sign to show their commitment to providing basic training for their employees.

They want to know just what it is they’re being asked to sign.

But why wait?

If there is to be any hope that the Leitch Review recommendation that employers train all staff to at least Level 2 in English and maths is to become a reality, then someone needs to take action. And who is best placed to push such an initiative to the employers of the UK? HR, of course.

You don’t need a pledge to realise that a better-­educated workforce will produce better outcomes for any organisation.

Nor do you need to wait for your organisation to have the finer details of the pledge outlined to them in big letters before doing something about it.

And when the government is happy to stump up the cash to pay for the training – through the Learning and Skills Councils’ ‘National Employer Service’ (for large employers) and its ‘Train to Gain’ initiative (for smaller firms), along with the Union Learning Fund – it would seem the difficult part of the persuasion job has already been done for you.

With the right words whispered in their ear by the HR team, most sensible employers should be biting off the government’s hand in the rush to give their employees the basic skills.

But it hasn’t happened yet.

And the government’s hand – and its cash – has remained firmly in its pocket.

The Train to Gain initiative, for example, has been allocated £400m in 2007. That’s in addition to the £230m that was available last year, and the £427m allocated for 2008.

If ever there was a golden opportunity for HR to take a leading role and prove its worth, this is it.

What are you waiting for?

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