April 05, 2013 - Rachel Miller

IoD welcomes government skills strategy

The government has published its skills strategy and announced a raft of new funding for colleges in order to improve further education and training in the UK. The proposals have been welcomed by the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Publishing the report, Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills, skills minister Matthew Hancock also announced a £214 million investment in 47 colleges across the country.

The £77 million new capital funding will be matched with £137 million investment from colleges and it has been targeted at those colleges that can support growth in the economy, as well as those in the greatest need of help. It will be allocated through the Skills Funding Agency enabling projects ranging from a construction training centre to an automotive technology hub to be created.

Simon Walker, IoD director general said: "We welcome the Government's new skills strategy. We are delighted to see that it follows many of the core principles set out in the critique of the skills system the IoD published in July 2011, particularly the emphasis on improving the system's responsiveness to employers. Yes, there is probably more to do in terms of simplifying the skills infrastructure, but the Government is right to move beyond the continual shape-shifting in organisations to focus on fundamental principles."

Alex Jackman, head of policy at the Forum of Private Business (FPB), said: "We welcome the government's new skills strategy, particularly their focus on cementing the contribution of employers through the funding system and through access to data. Employers know what training is best for their employees and should not be constrained by poor local provision or inflated costs."

He added: "The government's proposals clearly demonstrate the central position of employers in ensuring the skills system is delivering the right types of skills to enable businesses to grow. As 99% of businesses in the UK are small it is essential that the government continues to engage regularly with SMEs as they seek to implement this new skills strategy."