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The training spend survey: The real news


A third of employers in England did not provide any training at all to their staff over a 12 month period and 37% of all employees received no training at all. Those are the real headlines of the Learning and Skills Council's review of investment in training, says the TUC.

The TUC decided to take a closer look at what it calls the 'controversial estimate of employer spend' of £38bn on training - announced by the LSC last week in results of its investment in training survey.

The TUC says that after reviewing the research, other less well publicised findings emerge, like the lack of training for a third of employees. And it also highlights the fact that the £38bn sum includes wage costs of those on training courses.

"It is hugely influenced by the inclusion of the wage costs of employees whilst they are involved in training," says the TUC's critique, which explains that the estimate includes normal wage costs of employees when they are training - on the basis that this should be treated as 'lost production' – which accounts for just over £18 billion or 47% of the total estimate. In addition, wage costs of internal staff involved in managing and delivering training account for over £14 billion or another 37% of the total estimate.

The National Employers Skills Survey 2007 (NESS07) is a comprehensive survey, based on 79,000 interviews with employers, designed to paint a detailed picture of employer practices on workplace training.

However, the TUC says it was 'disappointed' that the LSC has focused on the controversial figure on employer spend whilst failing to acknowledge some of the key skills challenges highlighted by the results, including the continuing long tail of employers who do not invest at all in the skills of the workforce.

Less than half (48%) of employers questioned had a training plan, and only a little over a third (35%) had a budget for training - although two thirds claim to have provided training and development. This contradiction can partly be explained by the fact that around a quarter of employers said that at least half of their training comprised health and safety or induction training. The survey shows that 11% of those employers that do train had only provided health and safety or induction training, and no skills development of any other kind.

The latest figures also highlight the continuing training divide - 52% of professional employees said they had received off-the-job training over the past year compared with only 24% of production line staff.

NESS07 also highlights the fact that too few employers are enabling their employees to train towards nationally recognised vocational qualifications, a central thrust of government policy. With slightly fewer trainees working towards a nationally recognised qualification in 2007 (18%) compared with the situation in 2005 (19%). The actual number of employees being trained towards NVQs has remained static at 1.2 million
"This approach to training certainly does not meet the longer-term skill needs of individual employees and also the economic and social priorities which underpins the skills vision set out by Lord Leitch," says the TUC critique.

To read our feature: Boom or bust: Is the training industry in crisis <a href=""

To read more about the TUC's critique of the LSC's survey go to:


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