Raising Quality and Boosting Local Provision
Report Segment: Boosting Local Skills Provision
There is clearly a concern when companies send employees out of the area to be trained because of lack of provision close by. But creating a new skills centre is not in itself, a solution to this problem. Training providers will respond to a critical mass of skills demand but will always struggle to meet the needs of one off or individual requests. A new skills centre could merely dilute provision – and lead to under-usage of existing resources. If quality of provision is the main issue then this can be addressed through other means than the creation of new physical space. Revolutionising delivery so that existing resources are optimised would be a much cheaper and more effective option to consider. FE already out-sources specialist training to skilled instructors from industry. Extending this model to cope with further demand would be a good start. If eventually this results in facilities running at full capacity, then the time to explore the need for new facilities could be justified.
There seems to be a misunderstanding between the need to create training opportunities with the need for a new skills centre.
If there is some skills provision that is only available out of the region, the first question is how can existing providers be encouraged to develop courses to fill the demand gap.
In the industry views section of the Nautilus report, there seems to be considerable interest in training but it is not clear that this is something that industry wants to pay for. The desire for a pool of available trained labour needs to be separated from actual company commitments to pay for the training required and to recruit local staff in the numbers employers claim they need.