Landmark skills training report calls for wide-ranging reboot of UK system – backed by Suffolk Chamber
A major new report is calling for a root and branch reform of the UK’s training system to help businesses access the skills they need to boost productivity – a message backed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
The final report from the Workplace Training and Development Commission (WTDC), set up by the British Chambers of Commerce follows an 18-month in-depth study of what businesses want from adult skills training provision in the UK – with direct input from Suffolk Chamber and local businesses.
The commissioners, drawn from a range of business and skills backgrounds, believe it offers a blueprint for policy makers, trainers and firms to finally develop a system that works for both employers and employees.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce hosted a fact-finding meeting last year between one of the commissioners and over two dozen local businesses from a range of sectors and locations and so was able to make a direct contribution to the Commission’s findings and recommendations.
The report identifies solutions to a series of obstacles for employers in using the current skills system, including issues of complexity, cost and inflexibility.
It also highlights a need for improved trust and co-operation between the different parties involved in skills planning and training provision – especially at the local level.
Other key recommendations include:
Help for smaller firms to identify and invest in the skills needs of their workforce
More bite-sized, flexible learning which supports people in work to gain new skills faster
A greater say for businesses on what skills training is needed at the local level
Better support for people to retrain and move into higher earning roles.
A renewed focus on digital skills and innovation
The report calls on policymakers to adopt its recommendations and encourages businesses to act decisively to resolve their skills needs, to help bolster productivity and growth as the economy rebuilds following the pandemic.
According to Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of policy & communications: “For years, Suffolk businesses have been looking for a more flexible skills system that reflects their lived reality and that of their employees and which contributes to a fundamental cultural shift in placing total-career development at the centre of our long-term prosperity.
“With strong relationships in place in the county between the Chamber, training providers, including the University and our FE colleges and other partners involved in this arena, we believe that Suffolk is better placed than most to make the adaptations outlined in the Commission’s report.”
“Government initiatives, including those aimed at giving businesses a greater say in the delivery of future local skills needs such as those in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, are real opportunities to allow us to deliver some of the Commission’s objectives.
“Come what may, Suffolk Chamber will continue to be at the forefront in championing the skills needs of businesses.”