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Paid study leave bill in Parliament


A bill has been put to Parliament which, if successful, will establish the entitlement to a minimum number of hours training for anyone in paid employment.

The Lifelong Learning (Paid Study Leave) Bill, which received its first reading last week, has been put forward by David Chaytor MP, who argues that the establishment of a national training entitlement, built on similar lines to the national minimum wage, has to be the best way of establishing access to lifelong learning for all in employment: "There will be vocational training for the many, not only for the few. The national minimum wage established the right to earn. The national training entitlement would establish the right to learn."

Chaytor says that figures show the distribution of training in the UK is heavily skewed towards benefiting those in large companies and those who have already been educated to degree level: "Training opportunities tend to be allocated to the cause of increasing the skills of those who already have higher levels of skill, at the expense of the unskilled and semi-skilled."

MSF, the union for skilled and professional people is one of the unions working on gathering information and evidence on paid educational schemes and entitlements to support the bill. National Training Organisations have also been asked to provide information on the number of training days in each sector per head, on the type of courses being attended and examples of good practice with regards to time off for learning, within sectors or within individual organisations.

Chaytor says that the introduction of such a bill is the only way to tackle skills shortages properly: "If we want seriously to tackle the problems of the low level of skills in British industry, the skills gap and the skills shortages, we must approach the problem from the demand side of the equation."

TrainingZONE says: It's not the first time this sort of thing has been suggested. What David Chaytor is putting forward is likely to impact more on the costs of hiring replacement staff than the costs of training staff away from the workplace, as presumably on-the-job training will count towards the entitlement. What's not clear from the intitial reading of this bill is who would be expected to foot the bill for this entitlement...we hope that further airings of this proposal will clarify matters.


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