Wales reviews training targetsFurther education

20th August 2004 at 01:00
A government report this week reveals that the pound;1 million of taxpayers' money spent every day on workplace training in Wales is insufficient to hit its target.

The damning evidence comes in the report from Education and Learning Wales (ELWa). It comes from the first stage of a detailed study of the best ways funding and policy can support the training of a skilled workforce.

It also exposes the failure of colleges and other agencies spending that cash to engage employers, who spend a further pound;3-4 million on workplace training each day.

The idea of "employer engagement" - getting colleges and companies to work more cost-effectively in collaboration - is a central plank of government post-school policies in England and Wales.

The interim ELWa report comes amid fears of a skills gap, predicted in forecasts from the Institute of Employment Research (IER). These suggest higher-level skills will soon be needed in almost a quarter of total jobs in Wales. But there will not be enough people trained to fill them.

The report answers criticism from colleges and employers, with proposals for workforce development in Wales.

It calls for a much better understanding of the need for ELWa-funded training to be directly relevant to national and local, economic and employer needs - present and future, and for stronger collaboration between colleges and employers.

Developing the Workforce - Learning in and for the Workplace was commissioned at the end of 2003 "to review current programmes of learning in, and directly for, the workplace, with a view to assessing their continuing relevance to the objectives and priorities of the Welsh economy and the needs of learners and employers; and to make recommendations for change". The report recommends giving trainees more control over what they're doing and more support, modernising and improving the way colleges and trainers teach.

The Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning intends the final conclusions of the report to shape the Welsh Assembly Government's Skills and Employment Action Plan, which is to be published by the end of the year.

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