Byers sets skills challenge

first_imgEmployers need to invest more in training to remain competitive and meet thechallenge of the knowledge economy, Secretary of State for Trade & IndustryStephen Byers told the TD2000 conference last Thursday.Byers took time out from negotiations over the Rover plant crisis to speakat the conference, organised by Personnel Today’s sister magazine Training andthe Industrial Society, to stress the importance the Government placed ondeveloping employees.”The first industrial revolution required investment in plant andmachinery. The new revolution based on knowledge requires an investment intraining,” he said. He told the conference, organised as part of a campaign to put training atthe heart of business, that the UK’s history of supporting training was notsomething to be proud of.He said many employers had reduced their spending on training and reducedthe time off for employees to develop skills. “This is a matter of great concern.” But, he added, “TheGovernment is confronting and challenging employers about the importance oftraining.”He pointed to the work of the Skills Task Force and incentives from the DTIto encourage more investment. But he supported concern in the profession at the number of initiativesbeing launched across government to encourage training. “The feedback weare getting is that there may be a great deal of confusion and evenduplication,” he said. He added that the DTI had developed an web site to act as a guide to theinitiatives currently underway. Byers welcomed progress made by some universities to work with business butsaid this was still patchy and more needed to be done. He called on theprofession to continue the move away from the “chalk and talk”approach to training towards more imaginative methods.Equipping the UK workforce with the right skills is the only way to ensurethey can successfully cope with change, he said.He rejected speculation that the Government would be reintroducing atraining levy on employers, saying this had not been effective in the past. “”We need to engage employers intellectually to take them throughthe arguments for why training is important.” Also speaking at theconference, chief executive of the Industrial Society Will Hutton said the neweconomy and urgency to maximise shareholder value has put training issuescentre stage. He urged the profession to lobby business leaders on the need tobuild ethical organisations where developing people is seen as vital to sustainbrand Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Byers sets skills challengeOn 21 Mar 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more