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Vocational Skills Training Needs New Approach


The government should rethink its effort to address skills shortages through vocational training and education, its own research reveals.

The report from the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) said there was an “obsession with blanket targets that treat the entire national workforce as a single entity.”

Further education colleges do not meet firms’ demand for short courses for staff because they focus too greatly upon hitting broad criteria.

“All their teaching and other resources are devoted to … meeting national targets for the achievement of whole qualifications,” it said.

The report’s author, Warwick Business School professor Ewart Keep, commented that government policy needed to focus more upon making people employable.

“Skills sector growth needs to be given emphasis, as vocational does not automatically mean employable,” he said.

“Some skills are in demand and some are not. The broad-based approach to skills needs to be replaced with a wider range of sector-based training.”

The government has begun consultation on its White Paper, aimed at improving the ability of further education centres to equip people for skilled employment.


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