Singing the same song?

first_img Previous Article Next Article Thismonth the new head of the Learning and Skills Council takes up his post toprepare for its official launch in April, when the LSC will replace theTraining and Enterprise Councils. Patrick McCurry asks key players whether itwill make a differenceJohnHarwoodChief executive, Learning and Skills CouncilTheLearning and Skills Council will give business a major role. Itwill bring a sharper strategic focus to decisions about how and where to spendmoney – overcoming problems of limited choice in some occupational areas andover provision in others. Itwill decide how and where to pump prime development work in response to newbusiness demands. And it will also ensure that the right infrastructure is inplace.TheLSC will also recognise and react quickly to more immediate skill needs –brokering short specialist courses or in-house training to meet a specificneed.Andby working closely with the new Small Business Service, there will be aseamless service for small businesses on workforce development and businesssupport.Butit will also bring strength and resource to areas that have not been wellconsidered to date, such as compiling information on sector skill requirementsand appropriate learning provision. NTOswill play a key role in providing information with a sector focus, and thosewho represent business on the local LSC councils will work closely with the NTOfor their sector.RuthSpellmanCEO, Investors in PeopleWelook forward to working closely with the LSC and hope it will provide a strategicapproach at national level within which Investors in People and otherinitiatives can fit. Itis important that the right balance is struck between the central council andthe local LSCs so that the national strategy can be applied locally with fullinvolvement at ground level.I’mhoping the new framework will lead to better links for young people betweenwhat happens at school and the skills they need afterwards. Atthe moment there is a cut-off point at age 16, but if the LSC can get employersinvolved more it should be possible to increase integration between schoollearning and work training.Asfar as employer involvement goes, it is sensible that business will make up 30per cent of the LSC local boards and that should lead to those employersworking closely with training providers to ensure the right skills are beingdelivered.Iwould hope this new network will mean employers will be asked what is needed,what is not working and what can be done better. Sharingof information and good practice among the local LSCs will be very important.MikeCannellAdviser on training and development, CIPDMostpeople felt the Tecs were not delivering everything they should, particularlyin the area of intermediate, work-based skills, so if the LSC can fill that gapit will be welcome. I’malso hoping the LSC will have more involvement with CIPD members at local levelcompared with the Tecs, as the Tecs made a big attempt to involve managingdirectors of employers, which is not necessarily the best solution.Ihope there will be genuine changes with the LSC, but I’m not that optimisticbecause the record of central government initiatives in training is notparticularly good. With the LSCs the Government is making an attempt tointroduce more of a market in training. Manycolleges are already much more market-aware, but the problem has beendistortions caused by the funding mechanisms, which means training providersare often judged by “bums on seats” rather than how useful that actual trainingis. I’mnot sure whether those distortions will change in the future and hope it is nota case of plus ça change…RogerOpieDirector of education, The Industrial SocietyOneof the dangers is that in some cases Tecs are seeing the changes as simply a transferto the Learning and Skills Council. They think that it’s just a question ofchanging the name on the door, and I’m worried that the DfEE is almostregarding this view as inevitable.Becauseof this danger I am actually in favour of some centralisation, if that iswhat’s required to ensure the Government’s objectives are implemented, that theLSC acts in a new way and that the relationship with local trainingstakeholders is re-energised.Thereare a lot of training initiatives out there, from the LSC to individuallearning accounts, University for Industry and Gordon Brown’s network of ICTlearning centres, and I’m not sure the DfEE has really co-ordinated them. Ithink there could be a danger of confusion at local level when the LSC islaunched next year.ChrisHughesCEO, Further Education Development AgencyOneof the aims of the LSC is to connect young adults’ learning more closely withthe real world, which is a good idea, but whether you can rely on individualssitting on committees to achieve that remains to be seen.Whilethe LSC will offer employers the chance to exercise a leadership role, many areused to the Tecs and may see the new arrangements as more bureaucratic and aspart of a big, national quango. Onthe other hand, unlike the Tecs, local boards will have access to the wholesystem.TheTecs had a more limited role than the LSC and were seen as focusing a lot onthe unemployed, which isn’t always what employers are interested in. Thelocal LSCs will be county-sized and cover wider geographical areas than Tecs,and they will be trying to bringtogether a number of training strands at local and sectoral level. Their jobcould be complicated by the fact the new regional development agencies will becarrying out regional skills analyses. Singing the same song?On 1 Oct 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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