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Employers Commit to Training as Skills Shortages Bite


Nearly all employers feel that skills shortages are having a negative impact on their business, according to research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The survey, of 1,000 UK employers, found that 86% said that shortages had impacted on performance over the past 12 months. A third of employers described this negative impact as "serious".

The research, CBI - Pertemps Employment Trends Survey 2005, also showed that employers are committed to training, with 98% giving job specific development to staff, compared to 90% last year.

According to the CBI report, this commitment to training is across the board with 94% of small firms providing training. "Despite more limited resources, small businesses recognise the importance of equipping employees with the skills to do their job and are prepared to back this up with training," the report states.

And the signs are that this training is targeted, with almost three-quarters (72%) of firms having conducted a skills audit. This figure rises to 96% of firms with 5,000+ staff.

Over-all spend on training is more than £23bn a year, according to the CBI, with 94% of employers using external providers to deliver at least some of their training. Most employers used private training providers -91% compared to just 42% who used Further Education colleges. Employers satisfaction with the training provided was also higher for private providers than colleges.

The CBI put private providers' higher satisfaction rates down to the flexibility of training offered, something that it felt colleges would need to address.

It said: "Employers' perceptions of the ability of colleges to deliver training at a time and location to suit the business are interesting – just 50% and 54% of employers respectively at least ‘satisfied’ with these aspects of provision. This is considerably worse than private training providers, who performed particularly well with 75% and 74% of employers either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’… Overall private providers appear better placed to meet employers’ needs," the report added.


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