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Training spend is record breaker

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A whopping training spend by organisations of £38.6 billion – up 16% from 2005 – has broken all records, according to a new survey.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) released the findings, which show that the increase equates to £3.5 billion in real terms after inflation.

The research also shows that the proportion of vacancies that can’t be filled due to a skills shortage has dropped from 25% in 2005 to 21% in 2007, affecting 5% of employers.

Researchers spoke to over 79,000 employers and the results provide a detailed analysis of skills in England. Last year, over two thirds of the country’s businesses spent a combined total of 218 million days training their workforces. The average money spent per employee on training increased by 11% from £1,550 in 2005, to £1,750 in 2007.

At the same time the LSC says there has been a rise in take-up of Train to Gain, a survey of almost 4,000 employers involved with Train to Gain has found that 80% of employers and 77% of employees have been satisfied with the advice and training received. It goes on to add that over three quarters of employers questioned would be likely or very likely to use the service again.

Also, three quarters of employers using Train to Gain reported an improvement in their employees’ job-related skills, while 80% of those who had received a qualification reported that it had helped them do a better job.

John Denham MP commented: “The need to improve the nation’s skills is a key priority for the government as we face increasing competition from across the globe. It is vital for everyone – businesses, employees and government – to work together to ensure we have the skills we need to succeed. It is very encouraging to see that 77,000 more companies trained their staff last year and I urge all businesses, regardless of size or sector, to follow their lead and invest in training.”

Richard Wainer, head of education and skills at the CBI, said that the findings show that business commitment to training cannot be doubted.

“Employers recognise that a skilled workforce is increasingly important to stronger productivity and competitiveness, and they are clearly putting their money where their mouth is.

“But while firms will train their staff to do their jobs, it’s also vital that individuals arrive at the workplace with the basic literacy, numeracy and employability skills needed to succeed. All too often young people leaving the education system lack these essentials, and too many firms feel they have to try to fix this themselves.”

The news is at odds with a recent report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which suggests that over half of organisations’ learning and development work has not been influenced by the skills agenda.

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Annie Hayes

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