From education to employment

Sudakshina Mukherjee Continues her Analysis of the National Employer Skills Sur

Continuing on the theme of employers and the skills gap, writes Sudakshina Mukherjee for FE News, the proportion of employers affected by skill gaps has decreased over the last 12 months-as it has every year since 2001- and the proportion of the workforce lacking proficiency is also lower now than at any time since 2001.

Occupationally, a lack of proficiency continues to be more likely to be reported among lower level occupations: 9 % of sales staff and 8 % of those in elementary positions (which covers such occupations as labourers, cleaners, security guards and bar staff) are described as not fully proficient at their job (compared with 4 % of managers and professionals). 65 % of employers had funded or arranged some training or development for part of their workforce in the previous 12 months.

Little Change?

This figure is little changed from 2004 (64 %), though higher than the percentage providing training in 2003 (59 %). The number of staff trained over the previous 12 months is equivalent to 61 % of the current workforce, exactly the proportion reported in 2004, but again higher than 2001 (57 %).

Employers funded or arranged 162 million days of training over the previous 12 months, equivalent to 7.5 days of training per annum for every worker in the country.Employers spent approximately £33.3 billion on training over the previous 12 months, the bulk of which was spent on the labour costs of those being trained (48 %) and the management of training and labour costs of those delivering training (35 %).The total budget for training staff is equivalent to £1,550 per employee and just under £2,550 per person trained.


In terms of feedback on the NESS05 report, David Way, Director of Skills for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) said: “The findings of the report are good news for business, good news for employees and good news for the economy. The report demonstrates that increasingly businesses recognise the critical importance of skills and are investing significantly in training and development to increase their productivity and secure competitive advantage.

“It is clear that we are moving in the right direction,” he continued, “however everyone concerned with the issue of skills needs to recognise that major challenges lie ahead if we are to continue to bridge the skills gap. Through Train To Gain, our new skills service for business, we will be giving the type of training- support employers say they want. This will benefit thousands of employers and thousands of businesses over the next year.”

Skills Minister Phil Hope MP said: “The report gives very encouraging signs that we are delivering on our national skills strategy. This Government is determined to give people the skills they need for better jobs and careers and develop a world-class workforce. The hard work of all our partners in learning and skills, along with the significant investments being made by employers is beginning to pay off. But we know we have a real skills challenge ahead if we are to improve productivity and compete successfully in a global economy.”

Business groups also welcomed the report. These include Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), who said: “This report demonstrates that employers are making a huge commitment to improving skills. Employers obviously play a key role in sustaining and improving our economic competitive advantage and the results indicate that they are passionate about driving their businesses and the wider economy forward.

“There is still much to be done to improve the skills base of the UK,” he continued. “We look forward to working closely with the LSC and Government, to address that fact that there are still too many young people lacking basic skills and with inadequate qualifications in this country.”

Sudakshina Mukherjee

Talk to the monkey in From the FE Trenches!

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