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Sunlight out of cucumbers

Tom Bewick ("We need leaders to transform skills", FE Focus, Nov 7) points to the lack of employer interest in establishing sector skills councils.

The problems are perhaps deeper than he indicates.

Those who were (or still are) associated with the old skills bodies and national training organisations will know the work was largely done by professional associations, awarding bodies and unions, with little employer involvement.

Attempts to draw up workforce development plans were frustrated by lack of interest from employers. Few responded to enquiries about skills shortages and those that did referred vaguely to general skills such as team-working - not much to hang a plan for a "world-class workforce" on.

Some of us who were involved with "second-rate NTOs" hope the councils will be bigger and better, but on past form they will only be more bureaucratic and centrally controlled. Is getting employers involved like trying to extract sunlight from cucumbers?

William Meyer

20 Temple Close

Huntingdon, Cambs

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