Education and Skills Committee

2 August 2007


The Education and Skills Committee today releases its report on Post-16 Skills .

The report welcomes the Government's commitment to skills but states that a truly â‚Ëœdemand-led' system is not yet a reality.

While supportive of the principles behind Train to Gain, the Committee raises serious concerns about its implementation.

The Committee found that funding for Train to Gain is unduly restrictive, preventing real choices for employers, and the inclusion of â‚Ëœskills brokers' serves only as ₓan extra, unwelcome layer of bureaucracyâ‚? in the scheme. The Committee also cautions that Train to Gain may be subsidising training that employers would otherwise have paid for themselves.

The Committee suggests that emphasising training alone is not enough. Increased economic prosperity requires urgent support for employers to address skills needs alongside ₓwider sustainability issues such as capital investment, innovation and workforce planning.â‚?

The complexity of the skills system is also questioned. The report suggests that there is still ₓsignificant work to be doneâ‚? to tackle overlap between the numerous skills agencies.

The current system can also be very confusing to learners and proposed improvements to adult advice and guidance need to be implemented urgently.

The Chairman of the Education and Skills Committee, Mr Barry Sheerman MP, said:

ₓWe very much welcome the increased focus on skills, but some crucial issues need addressing if the Government's high ambitions are going to be realised. More â‚Ëœdemand-led' learning is a good idea in principle, but it is not currently being translated into practice. It is vital that we get skills policy right.â‚?