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A Round-Up of Training News


New National Voice on SME Training Issues

A new national group has been set up to champion and promote employer-led, vocational training needs within UK SMEs.

The group, called NPELT – The National Partnership for Employer-led Training, is made up of six OFSTED Grade 2 training organisations – based across the UK, all with roots in the engineering industry. It represents approximately 1,000 employers and tens of thousands of employees.

The aim is to influence public policy on learning and skills and ensure that the government and funding agencies take into account the views of small employers and group training organisations.

The partnership will share best practice, respond to key government policy documents and will bid for national contracts where the employer requires a wider geographic spread of delivery of training services or wishes to contract with a single body.

Picture insert: Lee Weatherly, chief executive of Midland Group Training Services and chair of the Coventry Association of Learning Providers is one of the founders of the new organisation.

Training for Equality in Local Government

Sunderland City Council is rolling out an equality and diversity training programme to all its staff over the next 18 months.

All 14,500 staff at the council, including the chief executive, will work through a 90 minute online training course, called 'Equality and Diversity', developed by interactive learning company Balance Learning.

'Equality and Diversity' highlights the laws and essential concepts of diversity and equality, the standards of conduct and behaviour expected and the implications of equality and diversity on customer service and communication.

For more on this story, click here.

Skills Academy Expands Network

Skills Minister David Lammy has launched a national skills academy for the process industries, the fifth such academy after construction, manufacturing, food and drink manufacturing and financial services. A sixth academy for the nuclear industries will be launched shortly.

Growth in the process industries has been constrained by a lack of suitably qualified employees, a need for formalised training schemes and a wide variance in quality of training provision. It is anticipated that at least 16,000 learners will undertake training via the skills academy over the next five years.

The National Skills Academy network was created by the Learning and Skills Council and is a network of employer-led centres of excellence which aim to improve productivity and tackle sector specific skills shortages by standardising training and sharing best practice.

CMI Appoints New Chief Executive

The Chartered Management Institute has appointed Ruth Spellman OBE as chief executive. Ruth will join the Institute in June 2008 from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, where she has been chief executive since January 2007. She previously served as chief executive of Investors in People UK and HR director for the NSPCC. Prior to that she was a business consultant with Coopers and Lybrand.

Digital Skills Shortage Blights Sector Growth

Research by digital media recruitment website Chinwag Jobs reveals that business is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit – and retain – people with digital skills.

Chinwag’s 'Digital Skills Survey 07' canvassed employers, recruitment consultants and HR professionals. While digital opportunities increased, 97% of respondents found it either difficult or impossible to attract suitably qualified digital staff for their businesses, with three quarters (76%) reporting problems persuading staff to stick around once employed. Over half (57%) of respondents reported that the digital skills shortage had impeded the growth of their business in 2007, with 85% of companies expressing concern that the shortage would continue to have a negative impact on their business’ growth this year.

Sam Michel, Chinwag’s managing director said: “The digital sector desperately needs to improve career development opportunities and widen its net, with industry-wide initiatives to support internships and training programmes, and to encourage people with traditional skills to make the jump to digital.”

The results of the survey and ways of tackling the issues will be debated with industry experts at Chinwag Live: skills emergency on Tuesday 29 January. For a full summary of the survey results please visit:

Employers Help IT Professionals Meet Globalisation Challenge

A revolutionary development programme to fast-track the careers of new IT professionals has been announced by e-skills UK, the employer-led Sector Skills Council for IT and Telecoms. The Masters’ level programme will unite universities and employers to increase training while minimising time away from work.

Karen Price, CEO e-skills UK said: “Many traditional entry-level IT roles are disappearing from the UK due to offshoring and technological advances. At the same time, increasing numbers of IT professional roles in the UK are becoming focused on highly skilled, customer-focused areas such as project management, business analysis and solutions design.

“This means that new IT professionals must be able to progress rapidly to demanding roles without access to the kind of jobs that would help them to build their skills and experience: they have to climb a career ladder with the bottom rungs missing. Our new programme will help to bridge this gap, enabling graduate recruits to build a strong foundation of competence in the early years of their career. It will make a real difference to new IT professionals and their employers.”

Companies backing the programme include Accenture, Aviva, BA, BBC, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Cable and Wireless, Cisco, EDS, Fujitsu, Government, HP, IBM, LogicaCMG, Microsoft, Oracle, Reuters, Royal Mail, Sainsburys, UBS, Unilever, Vodafone and Whitbread. Universities include Cranfield, Lancaster University Management School, Manchester Business School, the Open University and UCL.

Feel ‘The Marketing Experience’ In Earls Court

The Chartered Institute of Marketing is to hold a range of free training course tasters at this year’s Technology For Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) event at London’s Earls Court on 12 and 13 February.

The Institute’s focus will be on using search engines and directories, digital communications, e-marketing and digital marketing. Places on these specialised ‘course tasters’ need to be booked in advance.

To book your place or find out more please see:

RSA Launches The Career Innovation Zone

Royal & SunAlliance, has announced the launch of The Career Innovation Zone, a comprehensive, interactive career intranet site to help employees with their career management. The site is now live after a successful pilot at the end of 2007.

The site also includes guidance for both employees and leaders on how to have effective career discussions, and provides interactive career planning tools.

Worldskills UK Competitions Open

Do you have the skills to be a star of your trade? The best of the UK’s young skills talent is being called on to enter the 2008 WorldSkills UK competitions. If you excel in a vocational skill, the competitions are a chance to gain recognition, be awarded and represent your country on the world stage. Entrants can be in employment, training or education and participation is free.

The 70 WorldSkills UK competitions are designed by leading industry experts and will be held across the UK, judging a range of skills in the following sectors;

  • Built Environment Cultural and Creative Arts

  • Engineering

  • IT and Business Administration

  • Personal, Social and Hospitality services

Winners from each competition have the chance of being selected to represent the UK at forthcoming international events – EuroSkills 2008, taking place this September in The Netherlands, and the 2009 WorldSkills Competition being held in Calgary, Canada.

Sustainable Workplaces For National Learning At Work Day

Sustainable Workplaces is the theme of this year’s National Learning at Work Day on Thursday May 22.

Through this one day of workplace training the Campaign for Learning hopes employers will begin to see the business benefits of staff development. Learning new skills and recognising those that already exist creates a loyal and motivated workforce, it says, ultimately leading to business success.

Under the umbrella theme of sustainable workplaces, the Campaign will provide resources in three key strands to help workplaces make positive changes, internally and externally, to benefit organisations, employees and the wider community and economy.

The environmental strand will look at what organisations can learn about green issues and how employees can learn by interacting with the community they live and work in.

The work/life balance strand will help employers develop good practice and procedures that can lead to healthy, productive and motivated employees.

And the learning throughout life strand will explore how to develop transferable “soft” skills and the vital skills for life needed by everyone in the work force in light of the growing aging population and the constant changing workplace.

"The message behind Learning at Work Day is as serious as ever. The need to work towards sustainable workplaces and ensure adequate skills development for all employees is a real business issue," said a spokesman. "But Learning at Work Day as always also emphasises the fact that learning can be fun. The Campaign still believes the best way to learn effectively is to enjoy the learning experience."

One suggestion for the day is a colleague skills swap. Sharing hidden talents boosts employee confidence and workplace relationships as well as developing transferable skills to maintain a productive, motivated workforce, say the Campaign organisers.

Information about Learning at Work Day 2008 is available online. Activity ideas, downloadable resources and publicity materials will be ready shortly. Organisations wanting to register their interest can call now on 0870 350 2345 or visit


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