From education to employment

Sector Skills Council for Process and Manufacturing Offers Employers Route into Education Pa

The launch of the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the manufacturing and processing industries, Proskills, has been welcomed by many keen to continue to build on the Scottish reputation for industrial innovation.

The SSC will seek to bring employers more directly into the process of developing new education and training programmes, making the vocational and work based learning initiatives for these sectors of the industry more responsive to the needs of the employers. Scotland’s tradition of excellence in industrial development was highlighted at the launch of the agency in Scotland, with political and industry leaders sharing the common goal of welcoming the new SSC.

Scottish Project

The need for a local and/or regional approach to skills development within specific industries has led Proskills to appoint a dedicated National Manager for Scotland. This will see the National Manager (Paul Coffey) and his team working towards the successful implementation of a number of projects including the “Promoting Workplace Learning” project. This comes at a time when the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is seeking to re ““ vamp the image of its union sponsored learning in the workplace programme.

Training in a given area of industry offers certain unique challenges. The quality and content of the training must be at a certain guaranteed and constant level across the sector regardless of geographical concerns. Simultaneously, the requirements in each area will vary; in other words, whilst the target level for skills in the workforce are a constant, the starting level for skills may vary from place to place. Thus the SSC faces the challenge of being both nationally focussed and skills focussed.

The programme, “Promoting Workplace Learning”, will attempt to demonstrate to employers how developing the staffs” skill levels can make a real contribution to increasing levels of productivity thus improving the lot of the company and the end consumer / purchaser. The project is to be funded directly from the Scottish Executive, building relationships across all SSCs and partner organisations in Scotland.

Reaction to Scotland’s Newest SSC

Speaking at the launch, the Executive Officer of British Aggregates and Member of the Scottish Nation Group Richard Bird expressed his support for Proskills, saying: “Training is a really important issue for our industry sector’s workforce. Active involvement in Proskills gives our members the opportunity to really influence the direction of training provision both in Scotland and across the UK.” The initiative was also welcomed by Allan Wilson MSP, the Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, who said: “This SSC will have real influence with the Government, and I mean REAL influence.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Proskills spoke of the role that the agency would play in Scotland. Terry Watts said: “Scotland has a tradition of industrial innovation and a wealth of home-grown talent. However, the many Scottish SMEs which are becoming increasingly “high tech” need to keep their skills fresh if they are to remain competitive in today’s global economy. Proskills is offering employers the opportunity to have a really effective voice in determining what training should be provided and how it should be delivered…Proskills is your SSC and your opportunity to change the future.”

Jethro Marsh

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