Government links Work and Skills

The Local Employment Partnership (LEP) programme was introduced by the government in March 2007 with the aim of reducing the number of unemployed people. The government has also focused on linking the issues of work and skills. To emphasise this, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills organised a business conference in London titled 'Ready to Work, Skilled for Work, Unlocking Britain's Talent'. (The Times, 28 January 2008)

In the drive to raise skills, the government set up the Train to Gain programme. This provides advice to businesses on their skills needs and how to achieve them. It also launched the Skills Pledge, through which employers commit support to their staff achieving basic skills to at least National Vocational Qualifications level 2. (The Times, 28 January 2008) Now the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has announced this week it has given awarding body status to three companies – Network Rail, Flybe and McDonald's. This will enable them to confer nationally accredited certificates equal to GCSEs, A-levels and degrees, in subjects such as (in the case of McDonald's) fast-food restaurant management. (The Times, 28 January 2008)

Skills Secretary John Denham said: 'It is right that we recognise and accredit employers that have shown a commitment to training and developing their staff. This is an important step towards ending the old divisions between company training schemes and national qualifications, something that will benefit employees, employers and the country as a whole'. (SkyNews, 28 January 2008).

The importance of training and skills development is recognised by companies in two Times 100 case studies:

  • At Marks and Spencer, discussions between managers and staff highlight where staff have improved and show where more training is needed. This process helps staff to construct a career path and creates a cycle of improvement.
  • At the Royal Bank of Scotland, staff are encouraged through personal development to grow and develop their skills and abilities with training, attending courses or gaining new understanding and skills. This improves their prospects of promotion. (The Times, 28 January 2008) Sources: The Times, 28 January 2007 (print edition) McDonald's A-level in running a burger bar


The Times Online – Brown defends McDonald's 'takeaway diplomas', 28 January 2008

The Times Online – A-levels to go – McDonald's offers exams, 28 January 2008

Sky News – Opportunities for the jobless as teamwork cuts skills gap, 28 January 2008

The Times Online – Opportunities for the jobless as teamwork cuts skills gap, 28 January 2008

The Times 100 Case Studies – Marks & Specer, The Role of training development in career progression

The Times 100 Case Studies – RBS, Motivating through Total Reward

Potential Study Questions:

  • Most new employees need some training. On-the-job training can take several forms. List and describe three methods of on-the-job training.
  • Explain the difference between training and employee development.