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Report points to excessive bureaucracy in current FE system

An organisation representing manufacturers across the nation has blasted government policies in further education as “a muddled landscape with excessive bureaucracy”, in a report released earlier this week.

Furthermore, incumbent policy “has led to a”¦duplication of effort and confused and disengaged employers.

EEF, the “Manufacturer’s Organisation”, has called for radical reform into the skills training system which, despite previous attempts at change, is “still failing to address the UK’s skills gap”.

The report, entitled “Learning to Change ““ Why the UK Skills System must do better”, makes a number of proposals designed to move the current “fragmented approach”, to one that is more streamlined and “demand-led”.

EEF Director General, Martin Temple, commented: “Delivering the right level of skills is essential if UK manufacturing is to improve its performance and meet the global challenge. Recognising this, manufacturers are investing more in training but they are being badly let down by an inadequate skills system”.

Among the many recommendations, the report suggests that the Learning and Skills Council and the Sector Skills Development Agency merge into one body to provide a “single voice on the development of post-16 learning and be all the more influential for it”, and that the number of Sector Skills Councils be reduced to provide a better “utilisation of resources”.

The report also points to evidence released earlier this year refuting the claim that manufacturing companies are spending less on training; over half of the companies the EEF surveyed last year had increased their spend over the previous twelve months. Furthermore, two-thirds were looking to increase spending, despite their “margins being under intense pressure”.

Mr Temple added: “The current clutter and confusion needs to be swept away and be replaced by a sector focused system which has the company and the individual at its heart”.

Vijay Pattni.

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