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improving skills in the public sector


Joyce Roberts, Workforce Development Manager at London Central Learning and Skills Council looks at Public Sector Training.

The London Central Learning and Skills Council (LCLSC) is responsible for all post 16 education and training within the seven boroughs of central London (Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Camden, Islington, Lambeth and Southwark). We are tasked with targeting organisations in both the private and public sector to ensure London workforces have the right skills to create a strong and prosperous economy.

Equality and diversity are central to the LCLSC’s ethos, and this is reflected in the wide range of public sector projects funded by this government body. One initiative we are incredibly proud of focuses on developing the leadership skills and potential of aspiring head teachers from black and minority ethnic communities. Aptly named SHINE, the project began following research into the needs of black and minority ethnic teachers. It is the first project of its kind in the UK, and aims to make the teaching profession a better reflection of London’s cultural make-up.

Helping Employers
As well as using research to find out where we can make a difference, the LCLSC is also responding directly to the needs of employers. For example, UNISON approached the LCLSC to help improve the ESOL skills (English for Speakers of Other Languages) of employees within the healthcare sector. Working with one of its Colleges, Southwark and SE London Workforce Development Confederation, a training programme was developed focusing on the language skills health care workers would use. The course is pre-Entrol ESOL and contains lesson plans, hand outs etc, everything a tutor would need to deliver the course.

In fact, the LCLSC can provide the answer to even the most specific of skills needs. Kings College Hospital approached the LCLSC about increasing the number of health care employees working within breast screening in London. Over the next ten years, over 40% of health professionals in this specialist area are due to retire, so an injection of young blood is vital. The LCLSC is supporting the development of a certificated course, which will be piloted in the New Year and will allow people to develop their skills further and perhaps continue their studies to become a qualified radiographer. With a number of key partners working collectively on this project, including City and Guilds, Kings College London, London Southbank University, Southwark College and BUPA, the LCLSC has high hopes the pilot will attract a substantial number of candidates.

And from breast screening to……housing benefits! The LCLSC has been closely involved in equipping housing benefit officers in London with the skills needed to provide a high quality of customer service. This is a sector which requires good communication and numeracy skills as well as a high level of technical skills and knowledge on entitlements. A number of employees have been given the opportunity to work towards an NVQ at Level 3, which is specifically geared towards meeting the needs of this sector. This will help raise both their own profile and that of their employer’s.

These examples give a flavour of the many training projects existing in the public sector at the moment, each designed to provide a tailored solution to a specific problem. Another example of the LCLSC’s innovative approach to boosting skills is the ‘Paper Free’ project, a pilot programme in Lambeth focusing on employees within Early Years and Childcare. NVQs have traditionally been achieved through paper work, but in this day and age, other means have presented themselves; camera, video, or sound recording for example. As long as there is physical evidence of the student’s achievements, then he/she can be assessed by film, photo or paper – whatever suits best.

This defines the approach of the LCLSC; to make it as easy and efficient as possible for both employees and employers to improve skills within the workforce. We hope the projects already in place, and those in the pipeline, will allow the LCLSC to continue building upon and improving skills in the public sector.


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