From education to employment

New commission puts employer voice at the centre of skills policy

UK Commission for Employment and Skills replaces SSDA and NEP.

New commission puts employer voice at the centre of skills policy
A new commission to ensure the UK’s employment skills systems contribute to the highest levels of productivity has just been launched.
UKCES, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a result of a recommendation in the independent report by Lord Leitch ‘Prosperity for all in the global economy – world class skills’ from 2006.
The UKCES supersedes the two government funded agencies the Sector Skills Development Agency and the National Employment Panel which both closed the day before the launch of UKCES.
John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said: “The UK Commission has an unprecedented opportunity to influence the delivery of employment and skills policy, giving employers a powerful voice at the heart of government, but also helping us boost the life changes of individuals in every part of the UK. The cross Government support for this new organisation makes it a powerful and exciting new development, which will have a long-lasting impact on national competitiveness.”
The new commission will take over funding and management of performance and re-licensing of the 25 employer-led Sector Skills Councils and will help determine the targets, policies and progress necessary to our ambition of world class skill levels by 2020.
James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “I look forward to working closely with the UK Commission as we work together towards achieving an 80% employment rate. With over 670,000 vacancies across the UK the jobs are there. We need to make sure people have the skills to fill them.”
Ministers at the highest levels across the UK now have a source of direct and independent advice and can develop an independent view of how successful and well integrated our employment and skills systems are in tackling challenges and supporting change in the industry.
Sir Mike Rake, chairman of UKCES commented: “The mission of the UK Commission is a challenging one, but one where the benefits are enormous.  An employment and skills system which is truly led by employers has been a holy grail for government administrations for years now.   Achieving it would make a huge difference to every man, woman and child in the UK, and that’s exactly what the UK Commission intends to do.”
Sheila Kjaerhus
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