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Employers warn that LSC will be dominated by educationalists

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In its response to the draft corporate plan produced by the national Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) has expressed concern that employers must be given greater power to affect strategic education and training priorities, especially at a local level. Failure to do so will leave post-16 education and training supply, rather than demand-led.

The EEF and its regional Associations have been highly supportive of the development of the local LSCs, believing them to be another step in the development of a coherent and fair system of funding and support for post-16 learning.

However, the draft neglects the role of employers in encouraging learning and is likely to lead to over-prescription from the national LSC. It will also leave insufficient flexibility for the local LSCs to respond to local needs.

The corporate plan say the EEF, should emphasise the need for the LSCs to:

  • Take greater account of business representatives on their boards;
  • work effectively with employers' organisations such as the EEF, National Training Organisations, and other groups such as Group Training Associations, to develop sustainable plans for delivering sector appropriate and responsive local learning;

Whilst the EEF supports the suggested model for a local strategic plan, it argues that "employers' organisations" must be included in the list of organisations through which the local LSCs will develop their local skills strategy. EEF Associations and other employer bodies have access to large numbers of local companies, who have concerns and suggestions for learning approaches.

Limiting channels for company contact to only those mentioned – "the Small Business Service, trade groups, National Training Organisations and other bodies" could be too restrictive according to the EEF.

EEF Head of Education and Training Affairs, Ann Bailey, said:

"As currently envisaged, there is a real danger that the Learning and Skills Councils will be dominated by educationalists and other vested interests. It is imperative that employers, other than the Board members, are able to influence decisions, to ensure that post-16 education and training is truly demand-led."

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