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LSC pledges to put employers in driving seat for skills

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Employers are to be put in the driving seat for skills development, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has said in its first annual statement of skills priorities.

Priorities include extending Employer Training Pilots – expected to appear in Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Pre-Budget Report later today – increasing apprenticeships, and a firm commitment to make training and development more employer-focussed.

Mark Haysom, chief executive of the LSC said his organisation, which has a budget of £9.3bn, was “uniquely positioned to respond to the needs of employers”.

“We want employers to invest in skills and we want them to do it with confidence rather than taking a gamble,” he said.

“Working with providers of learning and all our partners we will focus the investment of public money in delivering the skills needed by employers, adults and young people. This is essential to address the growth in the higher levels of skills needed and meet the needs of more than 2 million people who do not have the skills that their employers require.”

The Skills We Need: Our Annual Statement of Priorities action points include:
1) Make learning demand-led so that it better meets the needs of employers, young people and adults.
– extend Employer Training Pilots
– streamline ways in which employers find relevant training
– implement initial priorities in Sector Skills Agreements

2) Ensure that all 14-19 year olds have access to high quality, relevant learning opportunities.
– guarantee 16-18 year olds suitable learning opportunities
– widen the choice of stronger vocational routes for young people
– increase the number of apprenticeships
– encourage more collaboration between training providers and employers

3) Transform Further Education so that it attracts and stimulates more business investment in training and skills development.
– transform further education through the ‘agenda for change’ programme which looks at employer responsiveness, improving quality, simplifying funding, making better use of reliable data, reducing bureaucracy and improving efficiency.

Digby Jones Director General of the CBI welcomed the focus on employers needs.

“It is encouraging to see such prominence given to meeting the needs of employers,” he said. “This will put businesses firmly in the driving seat, influencing the relevance and quality of training. The CBI will continue to work in partnership with the LSC to ensure that vocational training best meets the needs of employers.”

Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, said that the LSC’s statement would allow it to change attitudes about training and skills development in England. “This change in culture is critical to transforming the whole performance of our country in so many different ways,” he added.

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Annie Hayes

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