Putting employers in the driving seat on skillsFollow @pwc_ukgov
By Sara Caplan, PwC partner
Today, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced a change to the way government will invest in the skills of the UK workforce.
The Employer Ownership of Skills pilot, launched today, will create a skills system that responds specifically to the needs of businesses by empowering them to direct where and how government and employers can co-invest most intelligently in priority training programmes such as Apprenticeships. PwC has been successful, in principle, in bidding for one of these pilots. Click here for our press release.
This pilot has the twin advantage of securing value for public funds while minimising bureaucratic central planning and regulatory control. The plan is to streamline and reduce the complexity and bureaucracy employers have struggled with in the past, making engaging with government on training support a feasible option. It represents a substantial commitment from government to step back and give employers space to take ownership of the skills agenda, to find more effective and sustainable ways to develop the future workforce – and thus drive up productivity and growth.
We’ve summarised what this pilot means for businesses seeking to develop the skills of their workforce
- Employers are in the driving seat – The changes have firmly put control in the hands of employers, giving businesses real choice about how to put government investment in training to best use in their own organisation. Employers will decide how to spend it, what to spend it on, and what format they want training to be in, to underpin growth and sustainability.
- Streamlined, efficient access to government investment – Introducing simpler and more effective ways of accessing government funding will remove what has been a barrier to offering Apprenticeships for many organisations. With those barriers removed, we should see employers incentivised to consider workplace training schemes like business skills training and Apprenticeships - and to take on new employees.
- Quality training, where it matters – Channelling government investment straight to employers, rather than routing it via training providers, gives employers the potential to access high quality training through a more competitive environment than may have existed previously. From the perspective of the training provider, it means that those delivering the highest quality services, which are flexible and tailored to business needs, will have a great opportunity to work more closely with employers.
In the words of Charlie Mayfield, Chair of the John Lewis Partnership and of the UK Commission for Employment & Skills: “Government needs to step back and employers need the space to step up and develop the skills they need to compete and grow”. This pilot provides a key step in the right direction.
Contact Sara Caplan