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12 million UK workers had no training last year

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Research by MORI for KnowledgePool has suggested that 44% of workers had not received any training in the last year. Only a third of workers said that their employers had delivered the training they promised.

However, workers themselves assigned great importance to training. Almost a quarter said that training opportunities were their principal consideration when applying for a new job and overall, it was the second most important consideration after basic salary.

Almost a third of British workers admitted to lying or exaggerating about skills . 16% of workers felt they have more useful skills than their boss, and a quarter felt that with proper training, they could do their boss's job in six months.

Almost one in five British workers think advanced IT skills will earn them more money, although this view was less common in the North.

The research showed that the average number of training days for workers was just 5.9, compared to the 7.1 days workers spend ill in bed. With the training deficit meaning that workers spend more time off sick than in training, it is perhaps not surprising that a quarter of workers admitted to lacking the skills required to do their jobs properly, at least some of the time. Even one in ten managers confessed to lacking these skills regularly, a similar proportion to clerical and administrative workers. Two-fifths of British workers also believed their colleagues lack the requisite skills to do their job.

The research shows that British workers want to learn. Almost a third (31%) also believed that they would do their jobs better with more training and almost everyone felt that they are good at picking up new skills. 44% also said that they trained in order to enjoy their jobs more.

Personal, management and development skills (soft skills), as opposed to technical skills, were the most useful to workers in their jobs. Over three-quarters (76%) cited communication skills as most useful to them, with 65% naming team working and self-motivation. In comparison, only 38% mentioned basic IT, and only one in five, advanced IT. Workers also believed that employers valued soft skills most highly, with 44% stating that communication was the most valued skill. However, if workers could only mention one skill when applying for a job, the highest proportion, 26%, would choose self-motivation.

Conversely, British workers believed the skill most overrated by employers was a degree, over a third thought this, with the figure rising as workers get older. Academic A-Levels were also seen as overrated by a quarter of workers, while only 9% said the same of vocational A-Levels.

The research also found a marked difference between male and female attitudes to training and skills. Working men were twice as likely to lie or exaggerate about skills than women. Twice as many men also believed that they have more useful skills than their boss. Men were also far happier learning new skills on the job than women with 40% citing it as their favourite method compared to just 29% of women.

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