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Martin Couzins

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CBI report warns against government plans to extend training levies


The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned against government plans to extend training levies or license to practice schemes.

The employer group said the levy systems, which operate by charging employers in certain sectors a specified proportion of their wage bill which is then pooled and used to fund training grants within those respective sectors, would hinder employer investment in staff training.

Licences to practice require employees to be trained to a certain level before they obtain a professional licence to operate in sectors such as care, security, construction and heating and gas.
In a new report on training investment - Business investment in skills: The road back to growth (attached below) - employers said that a voluntary approach would be the best way to build on the strong business commitment to training and boost skills levels.
Susan Anderson, CBI director for education and skills, said: "The onus is on the private sector to drive the economic recovery through growth and job creation, and businesses recognise that investment in training now will be crucial to this.
"Employers already invest heavily in training for their staff and they recognise their crucial role in supporting sustainable growth by improving the skills of future generations.
"Our report finds a wealth of good practice amongst employers of all sizes who are developing the skills of their staff by a range of methods including formal qualifications, but also on-the-job coaching and learning."
According to the the CBI, businesses already invest £39bn each year on training, with European data showing that 90% of UK employers provide training, well above the EU average of 60%. A proportion of this investment is on remedial literacy and numeracy training to make up for the shortfalls of the education system.

CBI data shows two-fifths of employers have had to provide remedial training on basic skills for school or college leavers. In addition, over two thirds of companies work with secondary schools to develop future skills.
The CBI said licence to practice schemes may be required in certain sectors where there are health and safety concerns, but there is no evidence to suggest that a wholesale extension of regulatory schemes would lead to higher skills.
CBI proposals include:

  • Larger companies opening up their resources and expertise to smaller firms within the sector.
  • Sharing of resources between smaller and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the same geographic area to drive efficiency.
  • Universities and further education colleges focusing on tailor made courses to upskill junior and middle managers through continuing professional development (CPD) programmes.
  • Using Investors in People as a people development tool.



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