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CIPD: Employers concerned that LSC’s priorities ignore work-based learning


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development(CIPD) has expressed concern that priorities for the incoming Learning and Skills Council do not place enough of an emphasis on workplace learning.

In response to Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett’s announcement on the new levels of funding and new set of priorities for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), John Stevens, Director of Public Policy at the Institute said: "The CIPD is concerned that the strategic priorities for the LSC do not mention workplace learning. Mr Blunkett says that his priorities lie with the standards and participation levels of education and training and the provision of relevant courses. All of these are valuable tools to prepare people for their role in the workplace, but do not directly address the skills’ needs of workers in the way that workplace learning does."

On Thursday David Blunkett announced there would be additional funds made available to the council. The CIPD says that this extra funding could be better directed towards emphasising the importance of learning on the job. Stevens said: "We welcome the additional £600 million allocated to the council for the forthcoming year, but feel that the additional money could be better used. Consistent studies have shown that the skills most valued by employers are softer skills, such as communication, which are all best learnt on-the-job. In contrast, levels of numeracy and literacy come some way down the list of priorities. While we approve of the Government’s commitment to increasing the numbers involved in higher education and its emphasis on numeracy and literacy in primary and secondary education, we feel that the training can only be relevant if workplace learning is addressed alongside and not sidelined."

Stevens concludes: "The Government’s record on education and training is on the face of it very good. However, we need to ensure that the political will that has been shown through additional levels of funding is relevant to both the consumer and the employer. On-the-job training is the most effective and economical way of doing this."

The CIPD has advocated the setting up of a workplace learning fund to be used to support employers, for instance, by funding replacements for staff while they train.


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