From education to employment

Study reveals need for a right to request paid time off for training

According to a survey by YouGov, some 71 per cent of people in employment would like to see a new legal right to request paid time off for training. The report, released by the TUC and unionlearn, found that 53 per cent also said they would be likely to use it.

The strongest supporters were those aged between 18 and 24, and people with no qualifications were also shown to be very supportive. Those earning less than £5,000 and those with salaries between £25,000 and £30,000 were also most likely to agree with the right – at least 77 per cent. Some 62 per cent earning between £20,000 and £25,000 said they would use the right. The results follow the Government’s announcement in June that it aims to introduce a new right for employees to ask for training at work.

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said: "This polling shows that workers have a great zeal to learn new skills. The enthusiasm shown by people on low incomes, those with few or no qualifications and part-time workers shows that while those who most need training have the biggest appetite to learn, they receive the smallest share of the training pie."

Although the poll highlighted a great enthusiasm to learn new skills, the TUC is concerned that low skilled workers are the least likely to receive training at work. According to Government statistics, in the last three months only nine per cent of workers without formal qualifications participated in job-related training, compared to 38 per cent of graduates.

Mr Barber added: "The Government must ensure that any new right to request training is strong enough to make a genuine difference. Otherwise, the one third of employers who refuse to train their staff will continue to shirk their responsibilities and overlook those that need training most. Meanwhile business groups will continue to moan about the lack of skills possessed by the UK workforce."

The TUC and unionlearn hope to ensure that everyone has access to training at work through their network of more than 20,000 union learning reps in workplaces across the UK.

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