The CIPD has expressed concern about proposals to create an entitlement to apprenticeships but has cautiously welcomed plans to introduce a right to request time for training. The TUC has roundly welcomed the planned legislation.
John McGurk, CIPD skills adviser, said:
“We are concerned that the proposed statutory entitlement to an apprenticeship could undermine employer support.
"Apprenticeships are valuable if they are designed to meet business needs. Employers are ready to offer apprenticeships if they meet these business needs and are being taken up by young people keen to improve themselves. But they should not be allowed to be approached by apprentices as an ‘entitlement’. Youth unemployment will not be solved by a ‘right’ to an apprenticeship.
“We cautiously welcome the proposal to introduce a ‘right to request’ time off for training. The ‘light touch’ right to request approach has worked well with flexible working, for both employers and employees. Four out of five such requests are accepted by employers, who are in turn experiencing a higher level of employee engagement and motivation from their growing flexible workforces.
"However, it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that training is a two-way street. It is of benefit to the learner, but must also contribute to meeting the business needs of the employer. If this test is not met, the employer must be able to decline requests for training.”
Meanwhile the TUC said it welcomed the new right to request time for training and the expansion of apprenticeships, which, it said, would make employers 'raise their game'.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said:
"A new right to request training is very welcome. Employers agree nine out of ten requests for flexible working, and if they respond as positively on training it could help millions improve their skills and boost productivity.
"This will pose a real challenge to those employers who neglect training, and give unions an important role in helping individuals to shape their requests to learn new skills.
"The new commitment to increase apprenticeships is also extremely welcome, though employers will need to raise their game if it is to be fully realised."
Chair of the TUC unionlearn board Billy Hayes added:
"I welcome this important announcement which will give more than 20 million workers the right to request all kinds of training - from basic skills to professional training. This new right will encourage good employers and challenge the worst to provide more training opportunities for all their workers.
"It could do a lot to tackle the one in three employers who still offer no training at all and move the UK up the skills league tables. Unionlearn will be working hard to help union learning reps accompany and advise their members about this new right, such as how to frame requests and what to ask for.
"This will not only help workers gain new skills for work but also for their own personal development, which can be just as valuable to employers and society in the longer term."
What do you think of the planned legislation? You can add a comment to this article. But you also have a chance to let the government know your thoughts. For more information about the Bill go to: http://www.commonsleader.gov.uk/output/Page2437.asp