Landmark skills training report calls for wide-ranging reboot of UK system


11-05-2021

In his first update as Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, Vic Annells shares the Workplace Training and Development Commission Report.

He writes:

This 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.

The final report from the Workplace Training and Development Commission (WTDC), set up by the British Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Indeed, follows an 18-month in-depth study of what businesses want from adult skills training provision in the UK.

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.

Hundreds of companies from a wide range of sectors joined Chambers of Commerce, colleges, universities, independent training providers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and education professionals in giving evidence to the Commission.

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.

Its findings will now be shared with government education departments across the UK, Chambers of Commerce, and key stakeholders in the skills training sector.

Key to future success will be the full involvement of employers in local decisions on how we plan, deliver and fund the skills needed. We are already seeing positive change in the skills system with recommendations from our interim report being reflected in the Government White Paper on Further Education.

As businesses rebuild and respond to the challenges ahead, a more agile skills training system will be crucial to help businesses address skills shortages more quickly. As the economy emerges from the pandemic, individuals looking to change career and move into higher earning roles need more opportunities to upskill and retrain.

Solving the UK’s skills crisis requires coordinated effort across business, government and the skills sector. Our Learning & Skills Sector are working to ensure we can provide advice and support required to Cambridgeshire businesses.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to John Bridge OBE DL, who stepped down as Chief Executive last week, for his dedicated service and all he has done for the Chamber. He has been an asset and will be missed by all.

I am pleased to say that John has promised to stay engaged and continue to help the Chamber and businesses in Cambridgeshire as I take on this new role so that we can ensure all businesses in our area continue to be supported during these incredible challenging times. Thank you John.

Access the report here

To read more information, click here.

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