Government Policies

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Government policy, skills and the context of training and development

The fundamental problem with the approach of successive government to training policy in the UK is that they have berated employers for not doing enough to train their workforces but have done little to ensure that they have any incentive to do so’.


The Government aims to create a learning society. But many training and development experts complain of ‘‘initiativitis’’, and even a lack of joined-up government
Source: Personnel today, April, 2000
In recent times, one of the most challenging public policy objectives in the UK has been to encourage employers to raise the skills levels of their work force. This is a complex issue involving many factors as well as future uncertainties. (Learning & development, June 2005.)

The learning and the skills council:
The LSC identifies main skills challenges as follows:
SKILLS MATTER: they are the key to addressing the twin challenges of intensifying international competition and social exclusion. The pace of change in technology, globalization and changing pattern of demand for skills, is accelerating but many young people are opting out from education at age 16 and earlier and many adults still have basic literacy and numeracy problems. The overall demand for skill is projected to continue rising and the mix of skill requirement will also change rapidly. There is an urgent need to look at up skilling and retraining need of the current work force. The key drivers affecting skills are technology and demography. The declining numbers of young people entering the workforce beyond 2010 will lead to a greater reliance on older workers. and will need to look beyond the current employed workforce- for example, attracting new migrants and moving people from benefits in to work. Ali B, Labour Research Guide, 2006. Skills gaps and skills shortages in the UK:

As one LSC official put it: the real skill gap in this country is for 35 to 55- years olds in the work place who are fragile in their jobs because they have few skills, and as soon as there is a shake-up lose their job and can’t get another one. ‘The state ends up paying for this through the benefits system. So the question is: can we invest a little bit more in order to save a lot?’’

Source: People management, 12, June, 2003.
Recent government reports provide evidence of skills gaps and skills shortages. Skill gaps are defined when employers believe that their employees are not fully proficient to carry out the requirements of the job roles. Skills shortages are defined as a lake of applicants for vacant posts with the right skills and qualifications. Marchington M.and Wilkinson A. 2005. In retail, skill smart retail, the sector skill council carried out a survey of 14-19 year olds which showed that just 21% would consider a career in retailing. Its report said: ‘‘ unless retailers take action now to promote retail as a career of choice, difficulties with recruitment and retention will simply be compounded.’’ And because more young people are remaining in full time education to do A levels or equivalent – 63% did this in 2005 – fewer 17 – year – olds are entering in to work based learning initiatives such as apprenticeships. Just eight percent did this in 2005, according to statistics from the department for education and skills (DFES). The construction and motor industries suffering the similar difficulties. There is short fall of around 16,000 skilled motor technicians who are needed to handle the rapidly evolving technology in the new cars. Over 500,000 skilled construction workers have no formal qualifications, the sector skills council construction skills say,’’ We need to attract more graduates, more women, older people and ethnic minorities.’’ The equal opportunities commission says recruiting more women is a clear solution to severe shortages of skilled workers in some parts of the labour market, such as plumbing,...
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