Skills Street blues

16th May 2008 at 01:00
In response to its critics - who complain that vocational training has gone too far - the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has responded with something quite unexpected

In response to its critics - who complain that vocational training has gone too far - the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has responded with something quite unexpected.

The latest big idea is to use training not to improve work skills but actually to put people out of work - by encouraging the thrifty householder to do their own odd jobs without the need to resort to the Yellow Pages and summon the white van.

Until now, colleges have been all about improving the effectiveness of the UK workforce, helping people into jobs, encouraging people to learn a trade and make a living.

But no more, it seems.

In an imaginative leap, instead of plodding on with the laborious task of training plumbers, electricians and carpenters, the LSC has decided it would be better to reduce the demand for these skills by making us self- sufficient.

I hear the council is planning a "PR story" called Skills Street in which the quango will descend on a neighbourhood and encourage the residents to learn DIY skills and ask them how much they are paying experts to do every day tasks around the home.

And just to lay the point on with a trowel (after, presumably, qualifying in bricklaying), the LSC will carry out a national survey to see what skills the average family lacks.

Like one of the sloping shelves I put up at Ferret towers, the LSC's thinking seems "slightly on the huh", as we say in Suffolk.

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