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First sector skills councils get full licence


SEMTA (the Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance), and e-skills UK (which includes IT, telecoms and contact centres) have become the first two fully-licensed Sector Skills Councils in the UK. They now have five-year licences to research and develop ways in which businesses in their sectors can help plug the skills shortfalls in their workforces and boost productivity.

"Receiving our licence and becoming part of the Skills for Business network means we can make a significant step-change in our approach to addressing the skills needs of industry. We can now dramatically increase the scale and impact of the work we do drawing on even stronger relationships with employers and increased influence over government policy," said Karen Price, CEO, e-skills. "We have been granted SSC status as a result of our achievements to date, which would not have been possible without the incredible support that we enjoy from employers in our sector and everyone within e-skills UK itself."

As part of the Skills for Business network, e-skills UK will work with employers to define the skills needs for the IT and Telecoms sectors, which employ 1.66m people and the Contact Centre sector, which employs over 500,000. All three sectors are of particular strategic importance as the products and services they provide underpin the business processes of every organisation in the UK. Additionally, e-skills UK will have responsibility for developing the IT User Skills of the entire workforce across all industries.

e-skills UK has identified four key areas of work to improve skills, and increase business competitiveness within the industry:

- Promote sector attractiveness to ensure the required quantity, quality and diversity of potential employees

- Drive skills supply by encouraging and supporting UK educators and training systems in meeting the skills needs of the sector

- Support workforce development to ensure the continual re-skilling of the existing workforce

- Deliver compelling market influence and provide compelling strategic leadership for sector skills, based on unrivalled market understanding

e-skills UK has called upon Government, industry, and education and training providers to drive improvements in UK productivity through a better skilled workforce. Karen Price has called for the following changes to the current skills agenda to improve the breadth of skills of new entrants to the industry, and to help all organisations create a fully-productive workforce:

- For the e-skills UK Computer Clubs for Girls programme, currently being piloted in schools and transforming the attitudes and skills of hundreds of young girls, to be rolled out nationally to every child in every school in the UK, thereby transforming a generation of young people.

- For every undergraduate in the country - the managers of the future - to be given the means to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the strategic value that technology brings to business, by adding this to the public policy agenda.

- For Government, employers and education providers to 'sign-up' to the e-skills passport, and make this available to the 21 million people who currently use IT in their work. This passport will be based on an employer-defined user skills framework and will allow employees to gain credits for each piece of relevant training that they undergo. Employers will be able to use the passport to develop their workforce by identifying and recognising bite-sized chunks of learning.


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