Was I the only one who felt the CBI report Reaching Further added little new ("Brave new world of business acumen", FE Focus, January 23)? It repeated the need to make "employer engagement permeate every aspect of the college approach", leaving a range of unexamined assumptions: that there is a uniform view of what employers need; that their current needs are an adequate basis for future work; and that work needs are enough to meet broader life needs.
In our experience, where "training" is requested, unless it is framed with more comprehensive questioning - and fit - on how employer organisations can learn to become higher performing, then it's probably wasted money. Further, from a college perspective, how can - or how will - "college assessors" pick this up?
At a time when the very purpose of organisations is coming into question, it is likely that those with a better fit between "business" and "learning" will endure. Many sector providers have become successful by bringing social commitment to the business of learning.
The uncertain business environment comes at a time when many providers now seem more enterprising and recognise "engagement with learning" regardless of location, as their core business. Perhaps providers could market how they developed this to employers.
Donal Carroll, Critical Difference Consultancy.