Watering down training request rights will hit unskilled workers, warns TUC

Unskilled workers will bear the brunt of cuts to the skills budget and any watering down of the new right to request time off to train, the TUC has warned.

The warning comes a day after a consultation on the time to train regulations closed, which could lead to the rules being scrapped just months after they were implemented.

In its submission to the Government’s broader Skills for Sustainable Growth consultation, the TUC included an analysis of official figures which shows that only one in 10 unskilled workers receive regular training at work, compared to four in 10 graduate employees, while more than 10 million workers receive no training at all from their employer.

The submission warns that with the private sector showing little appetite for increasing investment in workplace training, a combination of reduced government training subsidies and the potential watering down of the new right to request time off for training will increase the divide in access to training by making lifelong learning increasingly unaffordable for unqualified low paid workers.

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Any shortfall in government spending must be compensated for by a strategy to increase business investment in skills, including the extension of the kind of “licence to practice” schemes linked to skills standards that are prevalent in the United States, the TUC said.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Spending cuts to training will hit the most vulnerable and damage prospects of a viable economic recovery.

“Lifelong learning is important for everyone, not just highly qualified workers, and yet there is a huge divide between the amount spent on training well qualified staff and the 10 million workers who receive no training at work. Cuts to the skills budget will only increase this divide.”

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