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Encouraging Learning Businesses

1st Jul 1999
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From the Executive Summary of 'Learning to Succeed'

Businesses need a well motivated and skilled workforce to compete in global markets. Successful employers are those who realise that people are their most important asset - and act on that by investing in their skills and development. The proposals for a Learning and Skills Council at national and local level will give employers unprecedented influence over the education system and promote a better match between demand and supply for skills.

At national level the Learning and Skills Council will build better sources of labour market and skills information, drawing in up to date information on sectoral trends from the National Training Organisations, as a basis for the preparation and publication of a strategy for skills and workforce development and an annual skills assessment for the nation. They will develop new initiatives to improve the opportunities that individuals in the workplace have to acquire skills, drawing on the experience of UfI and trade union initiatives such as Bargaining for Skills. The network of local councils will identify and disseminate best practice in work based training, drawing on initiatives such as the People Skills Scoreboard.

At local level, Learning and Skills Councils will provide a wide range of practical help to individual businesses, for example support in developing effective training plans, advice and support for Investors in People, support for critical skills development and help with recruitment for Modern Apprenticeships and National Traineeships. They will also develop new approaches to collaborative working between employers, for example setting up networks of employers in a particular sector to identify key skill needs for the sector and work with colleges and providers to establish effective supply chain responses and ‘preferred supplier arrangements’. Local Learning and Skills Councils will also encourage businesses to set up ‘employee development’ schemes, linking them to individual learning accounts to stimulate demand for learning from individuals.

Local Learning and Skills Councils’ plans will be developed in conjunction with the new Small Business Service, for example by arranging for the Small Business Service to provide a seamless service to small and medium sized businesses and to integrate skills development with enterprise and business competitiveness.

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