No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Skills policy: listening to business – HRD preview


Margaret Salmon, Chair of the Sector Skills Development Agency will be taking part in "The Skills Agenda" debate at HRD 2003. Here she talks to TrainingZONE about improving attitudes to skills development in the UK.

TrainingZONE What do you think are the main problems with attitudes to development in the UK?

Margaret Salmon From our perspective, there are two issues. The first is that across the UK, vocational education and training are seen as second rate and second class options. And alongside that and probably partly because of it, there is a proliferation of qualifications rather than a known and respected structure.

The second problem is simply that UK employers aren’t doing enough to train their people.

TrainingZONE It's not easy. We have a major productivity gap compared to most of our competitor countries, and skills gaps account for over a quarter of that.

Margaret Salmon First of all we need to make sure that entrants to the workforce and better and more employable skills. And then we need to attend to continual upgrade of the existing workforce. The current enormous proportion of people with few or no skills has to change.

TrainingZONE There have been a lot of central skills initiatives over the years. How do you convince business that something different and effective is being offered now?

Margaret Salmon Because this is purely about skills for business. It's not led by providers or educationalists. We can say to businesses "you will benefit, you can influence policy and provision". And we will be working and thinking together with businesses.

TrainingZONE What else would you like to see from government to support skills?

Margaret Salmon We have recognized the need to review quality frameworks. Modern Apprenticeships and Foundation Degrees have both been good steps. But government has to keep listening to what's really needed. Employers have to feel that they are taken seriously. And there must be more influence on schools to provide the skills that are needed: there are still far too many people leaving school without effective basic skills.

TrainingZONE There has been a lot of discussion in training about empowering individuals to run their own skills development. What can we do to help that?

Margaret Salmon It is certainly a three-way process: with government, individuals and employers. In the best companies it's a dialogue. That works in practice, so it needs to be encouraged. I'd like to see the principles behind the ILAs put back into practice.

Many individuals are confused, so we need to create a much better understanding of vocational routes: better information and clearer progression. Everyone knows about A-levels and degrees, but how many people are at all clear on the processes of gaining vocational skills and qualifications.

Find out more about HRD 2003


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!