Skills strategy quality guarantee

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A KITEMARK guarantee of quality, greater influence for employers over training curriculums and a better understanding of industry’s needs are among the key features of a new manufacturing skills strategy for the Sheffield City Region being developed on behalf of the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Alison Bettac, director of training at the new AMRC Training Centre, gave business a sneak preview of the proposals, which have yet to be finalised and approved by the LEP, when she spoke to guests at the Training Centre’s launch.

Surveys of local employers show that they will need to recruit 6,500 new employees between now and 2020, just to replace those who are retiring and that number will grow even further when business growth and the need to acquire new skills is taken into account.

Studies have also confirmed continuing concern about the relevance of the topics covered and depth of training being provided by some providers – prompting proposals for an approval system that would guarantee to employers that a specific training firm was offering training that would meet their needs.

“Some providers are delivering the bare minimum because they are funding driven and don’t have the resources to do more,” says Ms Bettac.

She said that training companies need to understand and focus on industry’s needs and look for innovative ways to secure funding to provide the levels of training needed – including, possibly, getting employers to band together to increase the number of trainees on specific courses.

Proposals include putting a greater emphasis on answering the training needs of SMEs and finding ways to accredit the prior knowledge of employees.

The strategy is also likely to include moves to reduce the burden on business by ensuring that one organisation collects all the training information, instead of different bodies, that are often asking the same questions.