Lord Puttnam urges compulsory levy for training

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8th May 2000
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Companies should be required by the government to pay a training levy if they are not investing enough in the skills of their workforce, according to Lord Puttnam, chairman of the General Teaching Council and government adviser.

According to the Financial Times, Lord Puttnam is keen to see the government introduce voluntary targets for levels of expenditure on training in different industry sectors, but argues that if the voluntary approach isn't working, a compulsory levy should be introduced. Lord Puttnam believes that industry often takes the view that "training is a form of luxury".

Lord Puttnam admits he has no definite ideas for the implementation of legislation to support this approach, but feels that there is support for his ideas within government. However, such a policy is likely to be highly controversial, particularly where defining targets for expenditure are concerned.

One issue not addressed by Lord Puttnam is whether on-the-job training is intended to be costed out as part of the targets. There is a potential danger that figures for `informal' training could be either ignored, thus failing to give an accurate picture of training undertaken, or figures could be `amended' by employers to enable them to meet the government's targets.

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