Training spend hits record high at £38bn

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Companies have spent an all time high of £38.6 billion on training - up 16 per cent from 2005 - according to findings from the a survey released today by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

This accounts for an increase in real terms of £3.5 billion after inflation. The research also shows that the proportion of vacancies that can’t be filled due to a skills shortage has dropped from 25 per cent in 2005, to 21 per cent in 2007, affecting five per cent of employers.

Researchers spoke to over 79,000 employers and the results provide a comprehensive analysis of skills in England.Last year, over two thirds (67 per cent) of the country’s businesses spent a combined total of 218 million days training their workforces. The average money spent per employee on training increased by 11 per cent from £1,550 in 2005 to £1,750 in 2007.

At the same time there has been a rise in take-up of Train to Gain, which has already helped more than 78,000 employers. Launched nationally in August 2006, Train to Gain is a skills advice and support service that gives employers access to the right training to help their business succeed.

Evaluation of the service - surveying almost 4,000 employers involved with Train to Gain - has found that 80 per cent of employers and 77 per cent of employees have been satisfied with the advice and training received. Furthermore, over three quarters (77 per cent) of employers questioned would be likely or very likely to use the service again. Eight in ten (80 per cent) would recommend the service to a colleague outside of their organisation.

Three quarters (74 per cent) of employers using Train to Gain reported an improvement in their employees’ job-related skills while 80 per cent of those who had received a qualification reported that it had helped them do a better job.

John Denham MP commented: “The need to improve the nation's skills is a key priority for the government as we face increasing competition from across the globe. It is vital for everyone - businesses, employees and government - to work together to ensure we have the skills we need to succeed. It is very encouraging to see that 77,000 more companies trained their staff last year and I urge all businesses, regardless of size or sector, to follow their lead and invest in training.”

Chris Banks, chairman of the Learning and Skills Council said: “These findings are extremely encouraging. Never before have so many employers invested so much in staff training their workforce. Employers are clearly seeing that training is helping to shape the future of their businesses and is the solution to their skills needs. The challenge now is to encourage more employers to invest in their staff in this way, so that we can close the skills gap further.

“It is also clear that employers need more advice and support about how to spend their training budgets more effectively. That’s where Train to Gain can help. It provides employers with a wide range of skills support from advice on how to make the Skills Pledge through to taking on an apprentice. Through Train to Gain, businesses can receive the help they need so they can reap the full benefits of their investment in training their workforce."

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