Western Daily Press

British Chambers of Commerce calls for skills system reform

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THE country’s training system needs a “root and branch reform” to help businesses attract skilled workers and boost productivi­ty, a new report is urging.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said its research over the past 18 months, involving hundreds of companies, colleges, universiti­es and training providers, had revealed a series of “obstacles” for employers in using the current system. The report recommende­d more help for smaller firms, better flexible learning for people in work, and a greater say for businesses on what skills training is needed.

Jane Boardman, who chaired a commission set up by the BCC, said: “The problem of skills shortages has long hampered the UK economy, leaving employers struggling to fill job vacancies and raise productivi­ty.

“The workplace is rapidly becoming more digital and automated, so businesses need more people with the technical skills for these changing jobs.

“But too often, employers cannot access the training they need and, as a result, are spending less and less on training each year.

“The impact of the pandemic has made investing in adult skills more important than ever.”

Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the BCC, said: “For too long, smaller businesses have struggled to navigate the skills system and get what they need, when they need it.

“Now is the time to put employers’ needs first and transform the system for the better.”

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said: “Enabling adults to gain new skills, retrain in new industries or to progress at work will be essential to securing our economy.”

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