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A week in training: Leadership development strong despite downturn


This week: Leadership development looks strong despite the downturn, writes Claire Savage the CBI calls for more internships to get the class of 2009 fit for work, BILD announces its conference programme, and more news in our weekly round-up.

Employers prioritise management and leadership training to survive recession
Training and developing staff remains an important priority for employers, despite the economic downturn, but budgets are being squeezed and prioritisation of management and leadership development is the order of the day, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Seven in 10 employers say learning and development remains a high priority regardless of the financial situation – while almost half state that their economic/funding situation has worsened (46%), only a third (32%) say funding for training has been cut this year. A similar number (36%) also expect funding to decline next year.

The vast majority (81%) of learning, training and development managers, in a survey of almost 900, highlighted the development of management and leadership as the most important skill to embed in UK organisations in order to meet business objectives during the recession. Sixty-one per cent of those surveyed are investing in new programmes to develop the role of line managers to help them deliver effective training.

And despite government's effort to ensure skills gained from school, college or university qualifications directly relate to the world of business, 61% of respondents highlight business skills/acumen as deficient among this group. Business skills/acumen is also recognised as a key skill to develop in order to meet business objectives in the future.

CBI calls for more graduate internships</strong
The CBI Director-General, Richard Lambert has called on employers to offer work placements and internships to undergraduates, stressing they bring benefits to both the student and to businesses.

Speaking at the launch of a new CBI/Universities UK report, Future Fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work Lambert highlighted the importance employers place on ‘employability’ skills – such as self-management, team-working, customer awareness and problem solving – when recruiting graduates.

He said: “To say that the class of 2009 won’t have it easy after graduation is an understatement – competition for jobs will be the most intense for many years. Of course businesses don’t expect graduates to arrive on day one fully trained, but what they do value in graduates are their people skills, a focus on the customer and a keenness to solve problems.”

The report, sponsored by DIUS, contains case study examples of how employers and universities are already working successfully together to offer students work placements during their degrees.

The skills paradox
A report by the think tank Demos tackles the problem that those with the least skills are least likely to train. It argues for governments to use subsidies, support, incentives and regulation to correct low investment in training and therefore make the market work more efficiently.

The research involved case studies of 18 employers in three sectors representing different parts of the British economy (construction, information technology and children's services), plus discussion groups with members of the public. It also drew on best practice from abroad in the design of qualifications and the role of social partners.

Recommendations include:

  • Provide employers with incentives to see skills as investments in the future rather than costs.

  • Develop welfare policy and skills policy so that they complement each other in their approaches to the skills paradox.

  • Subsidise individuals, not companies.

  • Give Sector Skills Councils the task of attracting new and different people from all backgrounds into an industry.
  • BILD conference
    The British Institute of Learning and Development (BILD) Annual Conference is set to take place in Milton Keynes on 11 June.

    Speakers include Clive Shepherd, Peter Hawkins, Liverpool Unversity and Liz McCann, BBC. Keynote speakers are Professor David Clutterbuck and shadow minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education John Hayes.

    Good Ofsted inspection for U-Net
    The TUC's learning and skills service has been rated 'good' by education inspectors Ofsted.

    Overall the U-Net service, part of the TUC training body Unionlearn, was awarded a grade two on the Ofsted report, which equates to a 'good' service on the four-grade scale.

    The report stated: "Employers benefit from these partnerships, with improved staff morale, reduced sick leave and staff turnover, fewer complaints and grievances, and higher rates of internal promotion. Centres in many workplaces are highly inclusive and welcome shift workers, agency staff, contract workers, and often families and friends, as well as union members and other employees."

    The watchdog did find room for improvement, however, stating there was insufficiently detailed target-setting for learners, some ineffective use of management information to inform improvement and insufficiently established quality improvement processes.


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