Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, says:
“Yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a new Lifetime Skills Guarantee is welcome, but the measures announced must be just the beginning of further investment and reforms to ensure people can access the training and support they need to find employment.
“More training and employability support will be required to ensure that the many people who have lost their jobs or who are made redundant over the winter can develop the skills they need.
“Sustained learner engagement will be a tough nut to crack, as it needs a dedicated campaign and substantial investment in learner support to facilitate informed choice, retention and completion.
“The CIPD believe there are three further actions that the Government should urgently take to boost training and reskilling, in order to help people who have already been made redundant or who will lose their job in the coming months:
- Reform the apprenticeship levy to make it more flexible so firms can use it for other forms of accredited training and skills development, including for employees working reduced hours under the Job Support Scheme, or for those being made redundant
- Invest £1bn in enhancing the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response service to fund bespoke sector-based training and employability supportfor up to 250,000 workers who are made redundant
- Provide funding to enable small and medium sized employers using the Job Support Scheme to use online training to develop the skills of their workers on reduced hours under the scheme when they are not working
“It is one of many great misfortunes that this economic crisis follows a long-standing fall in investment in training in the UK, as well as chronic underinvestment in lifelong learning. Further investment and policy innovation in these areas will enable, incentivise and fund employers as well as individuals to invest in their own development and they skills employers need.”