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Leitch gives evidence today to ‘skills shortage’ select committee


Lord Leitch gives evidence today to the select committee which is examining how far his recommendations have been implemented.

Lord Leitch published his review in December 2006, which warned of an impending skills gap. He will give evidence today at 4.15pm in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House. The session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Portcullis House is the building directly above Westminster Station, entrance to which is via Victoria Embankment.

A recent CIPD report launched at HRD, has highlighted that over half of organisations’ learning and development work has not yet been influenced by his skills agenda.

The annual learning and development survey also found that only 13% of employers have signed the employer’s skills pledge, despite the majority of organisations reporting that they will need a broader range of skills in two years and 44% reporting that they will require a higher level of skills.

There is some positive newsthough: nearly half of employers are considering or would consider signing up to the pledge or the Train to Gain initiative. While some organisations may not have been influenced by the Leitch recommendations, findings show respondents are actively involved in learning and development. Nearly 80% of respondents have specific training budgets, with an average training spend of £300 per employee.

Despite regular complaints about standards of literacy and numeracy, it is the so-called soft skills that are at the top of organisations’ agendas, according to the report. Sixty-six per cent felt that new employees lack both communication/interpersonal skills and management/leadership skills (54%), yet these skills top the list as necessary for organisations to meet business requirements in the next two years.

Literacy and numeracy are still concerns for employers – but they feel that government should address these gaps. The vast majority of organisations (87%) believe that it is government’s responsibility to ensure that young people are educated to appropriate standards of numeracy and literacy. Just over half (57%) believe employers have a role to play in raising standards within the workforce.

Sarah Van Der Heyden, policy adviser at the CIPD says: “There is a danger that the Government’s drive to equip everyone with basic skills may be coming at the expense of the urgent need to develop higher level skills on a more selective basis. This may be one reason behind the relatively low take up of initiatives following Lord Leitch’s report and the Select Comittee should ask his views on how this can be addressed.

“There is no doubting the government’s commitment to making the UK a skills leader by 2020, but there is more work to be done to convince employers that the government has the right answers to the problem. However, the large proportion of employers considering signing up to government skills initiatives demonstrates that there is much to play for.”


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