Quality not quantity for skills

Posted on 29 Nov 2010 by The Manufacturer

On November 22 TM published comments made by David Fox on the critical state of the UK skills industry. Linda Rawson, training and development manager at Gripple responds to Fox’s comments with her own perspective on the nature of the UK skills landscape.

David’s statements are largely accurate across the breadth of skills training and not just technical skills – there are a number of training providers who do not provide the required practical skills whether it is engineering, manufacturing or business administration.

I have come across providers who simply administer a programme; they take a student onto their books and provide assessment but the companies themselves have to provide the necessary skills training. This practice allows poor training, or no training at all, to be given with superficial assessment through a tick box process and does not test the quality of the depth of knowledge and understanding or of transferability.

Through acting in this way employers, and the manufacturing industry as a whole, are failing, not only to develop the level of skill and knowledge they need they are also letting the trainees themselves down very badly; promising something they cannot and do not deliver.

Another issue is training providers who act solely as brokers. These brokers access the full funding and then “spend” some of it through outsourcing elements of the training to other providers. Such providers then detract even further from the money which should be entirely for the trainee’s benefit, by claiming a percentage as a “finder’s fee”.

I don’t think the problem is that the Government pays for the training; responsible employers will always expend a great deal of time, energy and additional finance in supporting trainees. The problem is that training providers are not rigorously quality assured; they seem only to be judged on the number of qualifications awarded and as the training providers are in control of how these are administered and assessed this is not an adequate regulation.

I agree with David in that there is a chaotic mass of inadequate courses paid out of the public begging bowl but it is the responsibility of the employer to understand what skills training is really required so they can adequately discern between real training and bums on seats – and to ensure that they choose a provider that does provide those “workshop” skills whether they be in engineering, manufacturing or business administration.

Click here to read David Fox’s original comments

Linda Rawson was among the representatives from Gripple present at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2010 (held on Nov 18) where the company were the deserving winner’s of The Manufacturer’s People and Skills category.