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A week in training: Skills shortages still rife


Despite the downturn, many employers - 55% according to a poll this week - are experiencing skills shortages; not least in the beleaguered retail sector it would seem, with one company reporting thousands of training vacancies in the field, writes Claire Savage. Meanwhile as a new law gives employees the right to request training and new rights to apprenticeships, this year's apprentice awards are on the lookout for entries. And if you are prone to blushing wear a red jumper – plus other priceless training tips, below.

Skills shortages still rife
More than half of organisations – 55% - are experiencing skills shortages, despite the downturn, according to a new survey. Furthermore, a third of those surveyed expected the shortages to get worse over the next two years.

The survey, by Randstad, also found that 38% had made redundancies since August 2007, while 46% planned to reduce their headcount over the next six months.

IPSOS Mori surveyed human resources directors and managers of 355 UK organisations (all with more than 100 employees). Download the report at

Right to request time for training enshrined in law
The new Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill will give employees the right to request time away from their core duties for training, which will improve the employee's effectiveness at work and the performance of the employer's business. The Bill will also put apprenticeships on a statutory basis, establish the entitlement to an apprenticeship place for every suitably qualified young person who wants one and will ensure a good quality apprenticeship for apprentices and employers alike. Under the legislation, local authorities will take on responsibility for securing education and training for all 16 to 19 year olds, to create a single, joined up offer for all children and young people from 0 to 19, while the new Skills Funding Agency will oversee a new demand-led approach to education and training provision for adults, better tailored to the needs of businesses and learners themselves.
The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill is published at:

10 top learning tips
Visitors gave their top learning tips at Learning Technologies 2009 to help share best practice learning and development with peers.

Premier IT asked visitors to provide a top learning tip as part of their growing great ideas themed exhibition stand.

The Top 10 learning tips are:
1. More time spent on training needs analyses (TNA) will give you a greater return on investment.
2. Take the continuing professional development of your employees seriously.
3. Tell me and I might learn, involve me and I will learn.
4. Give context and examples before demonstrating mechanics and detail.
5. Use a blended programme of elearning and instructor-led training.
6. Keep training short and simple - bite-sized is best.
7. Make it fun. Engagement = learning.
8. Know your audience and plan ahead.
9. Make it visual, rich and appealing to all the senses.
10. If you blush when presenting wear a red jumper!

A full copy of Premier IT’s Growing great ideas – Top learning tips document can be downloaded at

Training provider in job talks with struggling retailers
A national training provider is in talks with some of the UK’s struggling high street stores to find new employment opportunities for their staff. Protocol Skills has contacted major retailers to highlight the alternative employment opportunities for retail workers in training others through work-based learning programmes. With staff training still high on the national agenda and Government funding available for work-based learning schemes, such as NVQs and Apprenticeships, Protocol says the sector is continuing to grow, creating new jobs, with an estimated 14,000 training vacancies across the UK. The most demand is in the North West, followed by the West Midlands and South West.

Dan Wright, chief executive of Protocol Skills, said: “Many of our clients are from the retail sector so we need training assessors that have relevant retail experience. Assessors don’t need to have lots of academic qualifications, we’re looking for people that have relevant experience and a good understanding of the different job roles and responsibilities within a retail environment.”

Landmark signing for Training Foundation
The Training Foundation is celebrating after signing up the 150th organisation to its TAP Learning System.

Buckinghamshire County Council has become the landmark 150th TAP® Partner organisation.

Sarah Barnes, Training Manager for Buckinghamshire County Council commented: “TAP has enabled us to demonstrate that quality is driven through the whole training life cycle – from development to delivery - and we firmly believe that it has assisted us in our drive for continual business excellence.”

Prince to have equality training
Prince Harry is to be sent on an Army equality course, the BBC reports. The move follows video footage in which the Prince – who is third in line to the throne - used offensive language about a Pakistani colleague.

Apprenticeship awards
The search is on to find the nation's top apprentices and apprenticeship employers. The awards are open to apprentices who have made a real difference in their workplace and organisations that run high quality programmes. Find out more at

Website for mature students
A new resource for mature students, brings together the offerings of every University and Higher
Education Institute in England & Wales for adult first-time entrants.

The website has been created by the Department of Innovation Universities & Skills in association with It includes an interactive map, so potential students can see at-a-glance what the offerings are in a particular area, video case studies of current and past mature students and forum and discussion areas to share experiences and thoughts.


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