Memorandum submitted by the Alliance of
Sector Skills Councils
1. This summary document accompanies written
submissions from the Network of Sector Skills Councils. It does
not seek to summarise individual submissions which stand on their
own for discussion at the Committee. It seeks to provide a context
for the Committee by highlighting the core contribution SSCs are
increasingly making in this area.
2. The Sector Skills Councils have now established
the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils to help them co-ordinate
their voice and to support collaborative activities between the
SSCs. The Alliance is continuing to support a forum in Wales and
in each of the English regions, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
3. The SSCs understand that education and
skills are devolved functions and recognise the need to work on
a four nation basis. In fact, SSCs are the UK "glue"
in the skills system. Large national companies wish to see consistency
and transferability of skills across the UK, whilst smaller businesses
need their specific needs met more locally. All demand quality
and transparency in qualifications that are offered in both HE
and FE. SSCs are the crucial interface between employers and the
4. Recognising its responsibilities in Wales,
the Alliance has recently responded to the "Skills That Work
for Wales" consultation and look forward to working with
the Welsh Assembly Government on its implementation. SSCs appreciated
the recognition of SSCs in the document "A strong network
of SSCs in Wales, working closely with employer bodies, will help
to strengthen the employer voice in decisions in skills provision
... SSCs will be the strategic interface between employers and
the Assembly Government" (pg 12). The Alliance is committed
to strengthening and supporting the role of its member SSCs in
Wales to ensure this is a reality.
5. The Alliance has also recently responded
to and provided evidence at the Welsh Assembly Government Enterprise
and Learning Committee on the "Economic Contribution of Higher
6. In this inquiry, we have submitted evidence
from 15 SSCs and the Chief Executive of Skills for Justice, Alan
Woods along with three National and Specialist representatives
will be meeting with the Committee, who will be able to answer
questions on their specific sector submissions.
7. The essential characteristic of Sectors
is that they have a distinct mix of employment and skills needs
and this is reflected in the detailed work of each SSC to identify
the specific relationship that their employers need with the education
system and its cross border applicability. However, we believe
there are common themes which run through the submissions which
may serve as a basis for further discussion.
8. Sector Skills Councils have been formed
by employers and have been licensed by Government to give employers
a co-ordinated voice and a lead role in driving forward the skills
base of the UK thereby improving productivity and performance
across the economy.
9. The role of a Sector Skills Council is
to engage with employers in identifying the current and future
employment and skill needs of their businesses. Then, to identify
the key occupations and to work with employers across the sector
to define a framework of National Standards of Competence (National
Occupational Standards) for each of those occupations. These standards
then provide the basis for employers to identify, through their
SSC, the qualifications and training that they need and will recognise
as a route to employment.
10. These standards provide a common currency
across the UK and enable the SSCs to advise in each country, on
the development of the national credit and qualifications frameworks,
based on the co-ordinated views of employers.
11. Major research into employer needs has
been carried out by each Sector Skills Council which has been
pulled together in Sector Skills Agreements signed by SSCs and
key stakeholders in each of the four nations. These are crucial
documents that should drive the relationship between education
providers and employers across the UK on a sector basis.
12. Sector Qualifications Strategies are
being developed as a clear statement from a sector about the type
of qualifications that are valued by employers. They are based
around the national standards. Additionally, SSCs have responsibility
for developing Apprenticeship frameworks which are based on these
standards and qualifications.
13. Individuals need to be able to make
informed choices about their education. A key issue is to understand
their career prospects and vocational relevance of programmes.
Traditionally supply has been led by student demand but this is
now being tempered by the demands of employers and the job prospects
of graduates. SSCs are the route for this employer influence on
14. A key measure of the economic value
of Higher and Further Education is the extent to which it provides
a route to employment. The level of graduate recruitment varies
by sector and needs to be understood. A key criticism is of oversupply
and the non-employment relevance of programmes.
15. The key partnership between SSCs and
HEIs is to ensure a smooth transition between education and employment.
A consistent concern from employers is the vocational relevance
of degrees. It is recognised that not all degree programmes are
designed to be specifically vocationalhowever individuals
need to be able to make an informed choice. We need to be able
to answer the question "if I want to be a ... then do I need
a degree ... and if so, which one?" In turn employers need
to understand what skills are acquired by those with a particular
16. Mapping degree programmes against the
skills and knowledge articulated in the National Occupational
Standards, produced by SSCs, can help this.
17. Many sectors welcome the inclusion of
work experience in a vocational degree programme, again this is
something to explore with individual SSCs. Flexible delivery such
as Foundation Degrees are proving a popular way in many sectors
to link a university education with work. In these sectors, SSCs
welcome the opportunity to work with HEIs to shape the programme
and content. Indeed, in the Alliance response to "Skills
That Work For Wales" SSCs encouraged "more robust support"
for the development of these foundation degree programmes in sectors
where demand is evidenced.
18. Employers welcome bite-sized learning
and flexible delivery that can support the development of their
current employees in their career development. Up-skilling the
current workforce is a key target for all sectors. To be able
to step back into Higher Education to develop new skills as your
career develops is important for individuals and their employers.
Many sectors see this as the best investment for increasing HE
numbers and raising skills levels. However, flexible delivery
and the integration of distance learning and work-based project
work are key components in these programmes.
19. Employers understand that graduates
are often not the finished article. A few sectors have explored
the concept of "graduate apprenticeships" to help employers
to provide a structured development pathway for graduates that
can help embed themselves in the organisation and enable the employer
to make the best use of graduate skills.
20. There is a need to ensure lecturers
and college staff are up to date in their understanding of industry.
SSCs can assist with this. For example, a successful exchange
programme operates in Northern Ireland with the involvement of
SSCs and Universities and colleges, enabling university staff
to step back into industry to help them keep up to date with the
latest developments. At the same time they can undertake a problem
solving project to assist the employer.
21. Traditionally, further education offers
more vocational relevance and flexibility of delivery, supporting
work based training and apprenticeships. SSC influence over national
qualification frameworks in each of the four countries and in
the introduction of credits is a way of ensuring the vocational
relevance of FE provision. SSC support the rationalisation of
vocational qualifications in line with employer needs and would
welcome equal influence on the content of qualification frameworks
in Wales as they are now achieving in England.
22. SSCs understand the desire to expand
numbers in both higher and further education. However, they would
like to see this in the context of Life Long Learning and continuing
professional development. They would encourage flexible delivery
and support for access in later life, with the use of distance
learning and innovative modes of learning and assessment.
23. There is some concern about completion
rates. It is felt that the flexibility indicated in the previous
paragraph would help to address the issue.
24. The SSC Management and Leadership forum
would like to see the principles of management introduced at an
early stage throughout the education system, encouraging self
management and team working, therefore growing and understanding
the role of management both in the role of work and in personal
25. The submissions from individual SSCs
highlight the importance of specialist provision and the need
to ensure that this is accessible equally to students across the
UK. For example; the lack of HE provision for Veterinary Science
in Wales, means that potential students, who would be essential
to provision of Veterinary service in Wales, need to study elsewhere
in Wales. The disparity in tuition fees can adversely affect these
26. Differences in funding and priorities
between nations, and in FE, between regions and sectors, impacts
adversely on student choice and access. It can also disadvantage
employers making certain sectors less attractive to students.
For example; lower resourcing of FE in Wales, lower levels of
funding for apprenticeships, and varying levels of tuition fees.
27. Funding needs to be more flexible and
support available to lifelong learning and existing up-skilling
of existing workforce through access to HE and FE throughout peoples
working life is seen as crucial to addressing the training culture
that is necessary for the UK to remain competitive in a global
market and improving its skills base as recommended by Lord Leitch.
28. Sector Skills Councils are the key to
this relationship across the UK. In summary, SSCs offer Higher
and Further Education:
A coherent and researched evidence
base on the future skill needs of each sector of the economy in
Wales and the UK.
A link to the co-ordinated and official
voice of employers in a sector and help to shape a programme so
that it meets the needs of employment.
A clear route back to employers to
explain and promote an understanding of their programmes.
An opportunity for UK employment
relevance for their programmes.
Informed advice on career routes
and prospects to support informed choice by individual learners.
29. Further and higher education institutions
engage with employers for four key purposes:
1. To supply learning programmes to employers
and their workforces.
2. To ensure that the curricula offered remains
relevant to employment.
3. To recruit vocationally skilled professionals
who are able to/desire to teach and pass on their skills.
4. To enable FE/HEI providers to access vocationally
based CPD opportunities for their staff.
30. It is fair to say that relationships
between SSCs and the supply-side are improving on both sides of
the border. As a result of the scale of provision in Wales it
is sometimes easier to make these relationships. These relationships
have been smoothed by the Sector Skills Agreement dialogue which
has involved key stakeholders such as HEFCW. In England, a recent
protocol agreed between the Association of Colleges and the SSC
network is resulting in the appointment of "skills champions
within FE on a sector basis, which will help FE present itself
to an SSC as a coherent network".
31. In principle, employers see no reason
why higher education provision in Wales should not serve the UK
market and why English provision, particularly in specialist areas,
should not be used to support the development in Wales. Quality
is the key. Use of the sector specific National Occupation Standards
as the basis for course design can ensure UK-wide industry applicability.
SSC should provide advice on the employment market and priorities
to ensure provision is relevant and to avoid over-supply.
32. The Sector Skills Agreements have opened
the way for new relationships with individual institutions and
educational stakeholders. In the submission there are many examples
of good practice.
33. Employers work in a UK wide labour market
and indeed increasingly in a global market. Links with SSCs can
help ensure not just that the needs of employers in Wales can
be met but that the skills are transferable across an industry
on a UK basis.
34. Further education provision has the
capacity to serve a more local focus and working within the National
Credit and Qualification frameworks of Wales and England will
ensure transferability across border as individuals develop their
35. Ultimately, employers need to understand
qualifications and would welcome consistency, transferability
and simplicity in the system. Equality of access and funding support
should be the aim.
19 June 2008
LIFELONG LEARNING UK
Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) is the independent
employer led Sector Skills Council representing the lifelong learning
Our key goals are to:
reduce skills gaps and shortages;
improve productivity, business and
public service performance;
increase opportunities to boost the
skills and productivity of everyone in the sector's workforce;
improve learning supply.
LLUK provides the strategic perspective for
workforce planning and development for the sector across the four
countries of the UK.
We represent employers whose primary business
is the delivery or support of learning for adults and young people
outside of school. These include:
work-based learning and private training
libraries, archives and information
community learning and developmentwhich
community based adult learning;
We are the UK wide body with responsibility
for defining and developing the Lifelong Learning sector's occupational
standards and the Sector's Qualifications Strategy (SQS). These
standards are used to inform the recruitment and professional
development of our employers' staff.
LLUK works with and in support of the employers
and stakeholders of the Lifelong Learning Sector in Wales, in
addition to the comments that we make below we would also like
to endorse and support the evidence provided by:
FFORWMthe equivalent body
in Wales to the Association of Colleges in England.
Higher Education Wales (HEW)a
National Council of Universities UK representing Wales.
National Training Federation (NTFW),
The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils
(TASSC) for Wales.
LLUK welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence
to the Welsh Affairs Committee on the provision of cross border
public services for Wales (and in accordance with our remit) our
response focuses on the Workforce Development challenges that
face employers in the Lifelong Learning Sector.
As part of our employer engagement strategy
in Wales LLUK works in partnership with FFORWM, HEW, NIACE and
NTFW, all of whom are represented on the LLUK Wales Sub Committee
to our main UK Council.
The Committee has already received independent
evidence from FFORWM and Higher Education Wales, who have articulated
detailed responses to the key evidence areas. LLUK supports the
evidence provided by our partner organisations, and whilst not
wishing to duplicate their respective positions LLUK wishes to
set our response in the context of:
FE colleges in Wales are funded less
generously than colleges in England.
Capital investment in FE in Wales
falls well behind that of any other UK country.
However, lecturers in FE in Wales
have achieved pay parity with schoolteachers and WAG has invested
heavily in ensuring this takes place.
In England, there has been considerable
increased investment in learners post-16. This funding has been
directed towards improving facilities and equipment whereas in
Wales the funding has gone on increasing the pay of lecturers.
Thus learners in Wales attending colleges in England will have
the benefit of improved facilities.
In HE, a very large proportion of
the cost base for universities in Wales is determined by collective
agreements made at a UK levelbe they in relation to pay
or pension costs. Universities in Wales therefore manage a paradoxical
situation whereby their cost base is largely fixed at a UK level
while their funding allocations are agreed at a Wales level. This
particular challenge has occurred at a time when there is an increasing
divergence across the UK in the relative levels of HE fundingwith
Scotland and England pursuing a policy of investing in HE while
the Assembly Government has chosen to freeze the HE unit of resource
in real terms since 2001-02.
This divergence in HE funding has
led to the emergence of a growing investment gap between universities
in Wales and those in Scotland and England. The size of the gap
has grown to such an extent that it now represents 19% of total
HE grant in Wales. An even larger investment gap exists between
Wales and Scotland. A position of equal funding between the HE
sectors in Wales and England in 2001-02 has rapidly deteriorated
and developed into a substantial HE investment gap which totalled
£61 million in 2005-06 (the latest available figures) according
to HEFCW statistics.
The magnitude of the investment gap
is set to grow further up to 2011 as a result of recent HE investment
decisions in the three home nations. A Universities UK analysis
of the HE settlements in Wales, Scotland and England as a result
of CSR 2007 demonstrates that, for the third consecutive CSR period,
the HE sector in Wales will receive the worst HE settlement in
Britain. Given the nature of this recent HE settlement in Wales
it is quite possible that the teaching unit of resource for universities
in 2008-09 will be cut in real terms. At the same time, DIUS has
guaranteed that the unit of resource in England will increase
in real terms throughout the CSR period 2008-09 to 2010-11.
Post compulsory Education: Teacher Training Provision
Standards Verification UK (the subsidiary
of the sector skills council Lifelong Learning UK) and its predecessor
body FENTO have been responsible for the endorsement of initial
teacher training qualifications (ITT) for Further Education (FE)
teachers since the mandatory requirement for FE teachers to hold
an approved teaching qualifications was introduced in England
and Wales in 2001.
The regulatory and policy requirements
endorsement scrutinised were the same for higher education institutions
in England and in Wales providing ITT for FE teachers, and the
FE Teachers' Regulations 2002 adopted by the Welsh Assembly in
2002 referred to the same qualifications as the Regulations adopted
in England the previous year.
Over time there has been evolution
of the requirements to support policy in each country, but recently
more significant divergence has taken place. In September 2007,
new regulatory requirements in England have introduced a licence
to practise for FE System (Further Education and publicly funded
work based learning and Adult/Community) teachers, with a qualifications
framework based on roles and revised England specific professional
standards that now differ significantly from the continuing requirements
in Wales even with the planned adoption of the new professional
standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning
sector in Wales, planned for September 2008.
Teachers in the FE System in England
must be registered with the Institute for Learning. The impact
of this divergence is threefold:
For individual teachers who qualified
in either country it raises the prospect that there may be additional
requirements where once there were none, should a post be obtained
with an employer across the border.
For HEIs in Wales who have traditionally
worked with partner FE colleges on both sides of the border in
making ITT provision, these arrangements have become more challenging
as regulatory and other requirements have diverged.
For learning provider employers with
operations in both England and Wales the determination of the
qualifications required by their staff has become more complex.
To illustrate the scale of these issues University
of Wales, Newport have estimated that the proportion of teachers
training in Wales who might then teach in England could be up
to 40% for full time (pre service) cohorts in some years.
As a result of the changes to the England regulations
for teacher qualifications happening independently in England,
UW Newport has had to relinquish the franchise arrangement that
it held with Hereford College.
Professor Charlie Jeffery's earlier written
evidence to the Committee suggested "the UK lacks those forms
of systematic intergovernmental coordination that exists in most
other decentralised states to identify and pursue common objectives
across jurisdictional boundaries and to build understandings of
the legitimate scope of cross-border relationships that arise"
In recognition of this position in early 2007
LLUK established a 4 Nations' Strategic Summit which supplements
its other UK forums and which invites the senior civil servants
with responsibility for Education and Lifelong Learning Sector
policy from each UK nation, to discuss the implications/impact
that the devolution of Education and Lifelong Learning policy
is having on the Lifelong Learning Sector workforce, prospective
workforce, students and employers, across the UK. The Summit meets
twice per annum.
LLUK maintain that Sector Skills Councils, the
UK Commission for Employment and Skills and The Alliance (TASSC)
are an underplayed yet vital component of "systematic inter-government
coordination ... to pursue common objectives across jurisdictional
boundaries and to build understanding of the legitimate scope
of cross-border relationships that arise".
1. STUDENT RECRUITMENT
The challenge facing student recruitment
and retention in Wales must be set out in the context of Prosperity
for all in the Global EconomyWorld Class Skills Leitch
Review of Skills (Dec 2006) where Leitch stated that the UK
must "raise its game" on skills at all levels if it
is to sustain and improve its position in the global economy and
get on track to achieve world class skills by 2020.
The target aspirations for a highly-educated,
highly skilled and high employment Wales are not as demanding
as those which Lord Leitch has suggested the UK must aspire to
achieve. LLUK notes that since the publication of the Leitch review
in 2006 the position of the UK against the BRIC economies has
already shifted unfavourably. We fully support the need for the
targets for student recruitment and retention in Wales to be reviewed
in line with the recommendations made by Lord Leitch, by the new
Employment and Skills Board in Wales as a matter of priority now
that it is fully formed.
In order to achieve the challenges
articulated by Leitch, Wales must have a successful post compulsory
education and training system. The economic case for the Lifelong
Learning Sector to be formally recognised as a priority sector
is very well articulated. Welsh Assembly Government must give
the sector due recognition in this regard.
Rationalisation of Vocational QualificationsLLUK
supports the need to rationalise and audit the number of vocational
and vocationally related qualifications that are currently available
for all sectors. The Leitch report has highlighted that the number
of different courses/qualifications available makes choosing the
correct programme of study very difficult. LLUK believes that
the confusion caused by the overwhelming choices on offer does
not assist the process of student recruitment and retention. In
line with the DCELLS statements about the role that Sector Skills
Councils have in relation to Sector Skills Agreements and Sector
Qualification Strategies, LLUK continue to seek assurance and
support from DCELLS that LLUK will be given parity of esteem with
all other SSC's in terms of being the recognised lead body for
Where policy drivers require changes
in practitioner knowledge, skills and behaviours or increased
numbers of practitioners to deliver them (eg basic skills, economically
important sectors, Learning Coach role, Welsh language, UK Vocational
Reform Programme) we would welcome working with DCELLS to ensure
that the practitioners are recruited and developed to service
the needs of increasing student numbers. In particular where funding
is specifically targeted at developing training places (such as
in the recent Annual Learning and Skills Assessment 06-09 where
40,000 places on the E Skills ITQ programme were prioritised)
there should be a corresponding calculation to determine the uplift
in the number of practitioners required to deliver the agenda.
In recent years the contribution
that Libraries, Archives and Information Services (LAIS) make
to the economic agenda by engaging (or recruiting) "learners
which other forms of learning do not reach" has not been
appropriately recognised within Lifelong Learning Sector policies.
Despite lobbying, LLUK were disappointed to note that the LAIS
role did not figure in the Webb Review recommendations. When Webb
was questioned about this omission, he said, "We simply forgot".
In accordance with the Beecham review, the role LAIS play in the
Lifelong Learning Sector needs to be articulated and recognised
and valued, with connections made within this strategy and at
a strategic level between ACL and LAIS agendas, and thereby DCELLS
and CyMAL, Heritage division. LLUK advocate that library venues
need to be considered as community/satellite learning centres
and the premises, resources, and personnel need to be profiled
and equipped as such to ensure that this valuable resource is
no longer overlooked. On behalf of our Libraries Archives and
Information Service employers LLUK continues to lobby DCELLS on
The learning environment (the premises,
the classroom facilities, the resources and the skills/knowledge
of the Teacher) are an important part of a prospective student
and prospective teacher/tutor/trainers criteria for selection
of a programme of learning/place of work. LLUK is concerned that
the increasing funding gap that has been independently evidenced
by both FFORWM and HEW (which we have referenced briefly in our
context statement above) will have an increasingly negative impact
for Wales in terms of student recruitment/employer engagement
and recruitment of high quality teachers/tutors/trainers, especially
for those institutions close to the England border.
2. STUDENT FINANCE
The recent Skills that Work for WalesA
skills and employment strategy consultation signalled the need
to "develop a more efficient learning network that will
take us from success today to excellence tomorrow". Section
1.4 also specified a compelling goal for a successful post
compulsory education and training system, but it stopped short
of talking about the skills that the "system" will require
of its workforce. LLUK strongly urges that all departments across
WAG need to recognise the post compulsory Lifelong Learning Sector
as a priority sector that has a crucial role in supporting the
development of skills in every other sector of the economyand
the initial training and continuous professional development of
staff within the Lifelong Learning Sector needs to be funded as
LLUK has urged WAG to apply the principles
it is commending to other employers "A more highly skilled
workforce is a route for employers to achieve higher productivity"
and recognise that investing in/financing the development of the
World Class skills of the Lifelong Learning Sector Workforce is
essential to the success of delivering the proposed Skills &
Higher Educationwhilst LLUK
recognises that there are major issues to be tackled in terms
of basic and lower level skills in Walesthe case for higher
level skills has been effectively articulated by Lord Leitch.
The Lifelong Learning Sector needs to be viewed as an entire system
where the ultimate goal is ensuring progression to higher level
skills. LLUK is concerned that the recent Skills and Employment
strategy proposals do not effectively recognise the important
role of HE.
Young PeopleIn LLUK's response
to Towards a National Youth Service Strategy for Wales we highlighted
that a grant of £470,000 to support the training and development
of youth workers and other professionals working with young people
was inadequate when estimates that 3,669 members of staff are
employed in the statutory youth service. If distributed evenly
across the statutory workforce alone this equates to £128
per annum per person. Against the backdrop of the low numbers
of fully qualified staff, and the expectations of degree level
qualifications from 2010, we believe that this level of funding
is inadequate, especially when we consider the additional size
of the voluntary Youth Service. We suggested, with reflection
on "Making the Connections: Delivering Better Services for
Wales (WAG Oct 2004)" agenda, that the youth service division
negotiates investment funding/preventative funding support from
other departments within the Assembly Government (Health, Justice,
Enterprise Innovations and Networks) to support the necessary
investment in those Youth Service staff who deliver on supporting
and complementary agendas.
In Wales, the way that students finance
their learning is currently under review. The recent Skills and
Employment strategy proposals have suggested the need to develop
a financial contribution policy which outlines differing levels
of financial contributions from government/learners and employers.
For this to be fully effective the customer (the person who buys
the learning) and the consumer (the learner/student) must be convinced
of its value. The effective implementation of a financial contributions
policy is therefore reliant upon Sector Skills Councils being
resourced sufficiently in Wales to ensure that the emerging Sector
Qualifications Strategies are able to fully reflect the demands
of students and employers in Wales.
Further clarification on how the
contributions policy will affect Lifelong Learning Sector employers
would be welcomed. The public sector double funding rule, which
prevents public sector employers applying for government funding
for learning alongside counterpart private sector employers needs
to be reviewed and removed in Wales. The Public Sector in England
is no longer disadvantaged by this funding restriction.
Learner Entitlement: LLUK proposes
that learners/students in Wales, should be entitled to have access
to appropriately qualified, professionally registered and supported
(via CPD opportunities) teachers, tutors and trainers irrespective
of which setting learning is delivered. This would enable learners
in Wales to regain their parity of esteem with learners in England.
The proposal for the financial contributions policy should consider
this in terms of safeguarding value for money.
The development of a contributions
policy will need to be supported by a corresponding workforce
development programme for employers in the Lifelong Learning Sector
as articulated within LLUK Sector Skills Agreement; Theme 5Learner
Centred/Demand Led provision.
3. RESEARCH FUNDING
We defer our position to the cases already expressed
by FFORWM and HEW.
4. THE WAY
Further and Higher Education institutions engage
with employers for four key purposes:
1. To supply learning programmes to employers
and their workforces.
2. To ensure that the curricula offered remain
relevant to employers.
3. To recruit vocationally skilled professionals
who are able to/desire to teach and pass on their skills.
4. To enable the F/HEI or Work based Learning
Provider to access vocationally based CPD opportunities for their
LLUK welcomes the role identified
by WAG for SSCs as the Employer voice of the skills system, within
the recently published Skills that Work for Walesa skills
and employment strategy consultation. We wish to emphasis the
pivotal role that the collective voice of the Sector Skills Councils
have as an employer engagement mechanism which further supports
and compliments the way in which F/HEIs engage with employers.
LLUK engages with our employers at
both a Nation specific level and a UK level. In each of the four
countries of the UK we operate a "Country Sub Committee"
to our UK Wide "Council". In addition to our UK Council,
we have a series of UK Constituency panels that draw together
constituency specific employers and stakeholders from each of
the four nations (eg UK FE Constituency Panel; UK HE Constituency
Panel, etc). Our Sector Skills Agreement has been developed to
represent the needs of employers in each nation of the UK. We
are now in the process of reviewing those skills issues which
have been identified as being common across the UK and are starting
to broker UK consortiums to enable us to deliver appropriate solutions
in a cost effective way.
We also work with our employers across
the UK to develop UK wide National Occupational Standards, eg
Youth Work. These standards underpin the emerging Sector Qualifications
Strategies that SSC's are charged with developing. In turn SSC
Sector Qualification Strategies are assisting F/HEIs and awarding
bodies develop and deliver fit for purpose qualifications that
employers require for their workforces.
The UK Council of LLUK has identified
the need for LLUK to take advantage of its unique position within
the Alliance of SSCs to support the continuing development of
dialogues between FEIs and HEIs, SSCs and Employers.
A key vehicle to support this could
be the further and ongoing development of the LLUK Impact Review
project which was an additional component of the LLUK SSA, undertaken
in recognition of the unique position LLUK has within the Skills
for Business network. As the SSC representing the workforce in
FE, HE, work-based and community learning, as well as libraries
and archives, LLUK employers are the providers involved in implementing
SSA the priorities and actions identified by employers in all
other sectors. These priorities and actions are captured in the
SSAs developed by the other 24 SSCs over the period from 2005
to 2008. The Impact Review involved a range of activities. The
primary task was an analysis of the key themes impacting on the
lifelong learning workforce as presented in the wealth of SSA
material produced by Spring 2007, and the production of a report
presenting the analysis. In evaluating the Impact Review, GHK
reported that "The rationale for the Impact Review has been
reinforced during the process (ie LLUK can clearly add value as
The new 14-19 Agendas in both England
and Wales recognise the importance of vocational learning pathways
based upon the needs of employers. Whilst LLUK recognises the
necessary and statutory requirements of supporting teacher development
in the statutory (schools) sector, we remain gravely concerned
about the lack of funding that DCELLS is able to apportion toward
equitable levels of initial and continuing professional development
for teachers and support staff in the post compulsory sector.
We recognise that this is an issue that also needs to be owned
by the WAG cabinet in terms of the size of budget that is allocated
to DCELLS. We consider this issue to be a major risk to the effective
delivery of the Skills & Employment Strategy for Wales.
A strong apprenticeship model is
dependent upon strong Work Based Learning Delivery and Assessment
and Verification. The LLUK Sector Skills Agreement has highlighted
that qualified Assessor and Verifiers are generally in short supply,
and gaps are more pronounced in some areas. An urgent recruitment
campaign for Work Based Learning Assessors and Verifiers will
be required to support any projected uplift in Modern Apprenticeship
delivery within Wales, as will an audit of Teachers (both in terms
of numbers and vocational updating (C&PD) requirements).
To effectively represent the Lifelong
Learning Sector employer demand voiceLLUK must support
the view that Foundation Degrees should become a supported qualification
in Wales. Employers within our footprint see these qualifications
as important progression awards on a path towards professional
standing in some of the constituencies that we represent. LLUK
therefore welcomes the Deputy Minister's statements on the matter.
Vocational Qualification Learning
DeliverySir Adrian Webb has urged us to address concerns
that teachers in FE do not always have leading-edge or even current
knowledge, particularly in vocational subjects. Vocational subjects
must be taught by vocational specialists who undergo regular professional
development and intense immersion in their specialism. This should
lead to the establishment of a minimum entitlement to CPD for
teaching and lecturing staff in schools and FEIs which should
form not less than 10 days per year and which should include the
opportunity for staff teaching on work related programmes to have
a period of immersion in the appropriate work environment. LLUK
supports the need to consult with the sector to develop and agree
an accepted definition and framework for CPD across all settings.
In contrast, as a result of the changes in regulations in Engalnd,
FEIs in England are already required to ensure that their full
time teaching staff engages in a minimum of 30 hours CPD per annum,
on a sliding scale for part time staff down to a minimum of six
hours per annum.
LLUK maintains that Sector Skills
Councils, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and The
Alliance (TASSC) are an underplayed yet vital component of "systematic
inter government coordination ...to pursue common objectives across
jurisdictional boundaries and to build understanding of the legitimate
scope of cross-border relationships that arise".
The Webb Review has highlighted the
unhelpful nature of "jam jar funding" arrangements for
stakeholders. LLUK would urge that the development of criteria
for the proposed Sector Priorities' fund should take this into
account and consider providing infrastructure funding to enable
SSCs to development long term capacity and capability.
Community based adult learning involves all
young people and adults and takes a range of contexts. It plays
a major role in building social inclusion and supporting civil
renewal. Those employed in this field may work face to face, and
their roles include leading learning by teaching or tutoring,
supporting learning through tutoring, providing guidance and facilitating
Community development work assumes that within
any community there is a wealth of knowledge and experience which
if used in creative ways results in high levels of participation
and can be channelled into collective action to achieve the community's
desired goals. Community development workers work alongside people
in communities in order to build relationships with key people
and groups, facilitating the identification of common concerns
and helping to build autonomous groups. By enabling people to
act together community development workers help to foster social
inclusion and equality.
Community education encompasses the lifelong
range of learning needs with a close integration in approach between
work with adults, young people and children, and in providing
educational support with community development. Its emphasis is
upon the provision of community based learning and development
support for individuals and groups based around identified needs
Development education can be defined as lifelong
learning that: enables people to understand the links between
their own lives and those of people throughout the world; increases
understanding of the economic, social, political and environmental
forces which shape our lives; develops the skills, attitudes and
values which enable people to work together to take action to
bring about change and take control of their own lives; works
towards achieving a more just and a more sustainable world in
which power and resources are more equitably shared.
Family learning is essentially learning that
takes place in a "cross-generational" context. The values,
attitudes and culture that is learnt from our families can stay
with us throughout our lives. Family learning schemes are often
a second chance for parents, and grandparents to return to learning.
Family learning encompasses family literacy, family numeracy,
family IT, classes and activities for families, courses in parenting
such as living with teenagers, playing with your child, helping
children learn, dealing with your child's school, and understanding
Parenting education is a collaborative educational
approach that uses a combination of information, skills learning
and the building of peer support and networks to enable parents
to understand their children's and their needs better and to feel
more confident and competent in their parenting. It is an approach
which is relevant to all those who come into contact with children
and can play a valuable part in increasing the relationship and
skills and understanding of us all." The complexity of skills
required by those working with parents in whatever form is very
apparent not least when one considers the huge responsibility
of carrying out work which will have a very major impact on peoples'
Youth work offers young people both planned
and spontaneous programmes of personal and social education. As
part of the wider 14-19 agenda youth work prepares young people
for life. There is a wide range of practice to meet the needs
of young people including arts and drama groups, counselling,
detached or street based youth work, faith based groups, information
and advice centres, outreach work with disadvantaged groups, project
work on health issues, school; and college based provision, uniformed
groups (Scouts & Guides, Cadet Units etc), and voluntary service
groups. The essence of youth work is to enable the transition
from childhood to independent adult life. Thus youth work provision
is a complex network of providers from community groups through
local authority provision to voluntary organisations.
INSTITUTE OF MOTOR INDUSTRY (IMI-MOTOR)
The sector struggles to attract the right calibre
of people into the industry. Academic achievement has not been
a particular strength for these individuals and from this low
starting point it is obvious, from an employer's perspective that
providers struggle to raise the level of skills to those needed
by the industry. This is not just a Welsh issue, but one that
spans all four countries of the UK.
Basic and employability skills will form an
integral part of future qualifications to ensure that those that
need this extra support can receive it as part of their ongoing
We have made several recommendations in the
Sector Qualifications Strategy (SQS) and SQS Action Plans that
we believe will begin to remedy this situation. For Wales, particularly,
an automotive aspect should feature in the Welsh Baccalaureate.
We have also made recommendations about qualifications
being structured around bite-sized chunks of learning, so qualifications
won't seem as daunting as they appear to be now. Lessons we've
learnt from the Automotive Retail Management Standards (ARMS)
development are of particular note.
The IMI/Automotive Skills are developing a Skills
Portal that is to be launched in early 2009 which will direct
learners to appropriate job roles, qualifications and providers.
The SQS focuses on the importance of `attraction
and retention'. We have good relations with Careers Wales which
is a great help. The IMI will work to maintain good relationships
like this to ensure effective access to information, advice and
guidance for young people whether they live in England or Wales.
Funding is one of the overriding concerns of
employers within the sector. We need to ensure that funding policies
align with the needs of the sector.
On occasions when no provision is available
in Wales, learners have difficulty in securing funding for the
training/skills development they require when it takes place outside
The funding for Apprenticeships within Wales
is on average £1,000 short of the England fundingfor
example Apprenticeship for Service and Maintenance is about £8400
and FMA for Wales is around £7500. There are also a few issues
for employers that prevent them accessing provision. Policy in
Wales dictates that provision cannot be sought outside of Wales
even if the cost of sending them to other locations in Wales is
greater or that that provision does not exist. This also creates
problems for dealers wanting to use vehicle manufacturer programmes
if the manufacturer is not based in Wales.
There is no Key/Core skill end test in Wales
and our SQS calls for alignment of the components of the apprenticeship
across the nations. So alignment between England and Wales would
be beneficial from an end user point of view.
Our engagement in this, to date, has not been
as we would have wished.
Through the development of the SQS Action Plan
for Wales we hope to gain agreement from individual HEIs to work
with us in the development of Foundation Degrees for the sector.
We believe we need to focus on two areas for development; management
and leadership and motorsport. The draft Action Plan (yet to be
agreed with stakeholders) states:
The HEFCW report, Study of the role of Foundation
Degrees in Wales, identified the automotive sector as one that
would benefit from the development of Foundation Degrees in Wales.
The development of Foundation Degrees will help begin to extend
the level and range of management and leadership skills within
the sector and thus help change the culture of management and
leadership and the level of skills so needed by the sector.
In addition the development of a motorsport Foundation
Degree will further help Wales maintain and develop its contribution
to this sector.
Working with HEIs and bringing them together
with employers in Wales will be our first step to ensure fit-for-purpose
Foundation Degrees for the sector. From this position we will
then work with stakeholders to ensure that Foundation Degrees
are solidly based on NOS and that these reflect the needs of the
Employer engagement is probably the most important
issue for the sector. The key point is that employers won't want
their ability to work with providers or their ability to recruit
young people to the sector hampered by cross-border issues. Also,
whether Wales has its own policies or the same policy across England
and Wales. What is most important is that the system is made easy
for the "end user" to understand.
The paper covers the FE cross-border issues
between Wales and England from the viewpoint of GoSkills.
Whilst in certain respects it is easier in Wales
for us as an SSC to conduct business owing to clearer roles and
easier communications, in general the supply side is not as developed
as it is in England. As many leading employers conduct their own
training in house, the lack of consistent public funding for skills
in the sector disadvantages it in relation to more favoured sectors.
GoSkills is the Sector Skills Council
for Passenger Transport. The footprint comprises airlines, air
passenger transport on the ground, bus, coach, community transport,
driver training, inland water passenger transport, light rail,
metro and trams, rail operations, rail engineering, taxi, chauffeur
and private hire and transport planning. It was licensed in October
2004. It represents its employers on a voluntary basis but does
offer membership. It has a Sector Skills Agreement in Wales and
a Sector Qualification Strategy in place.
The sector groups into three major business
models; those businesses which deliver passenger transport services
to the end customer, those that engineer the equipment and infrastructure
(bus, coach and rail) and those that provide support services
(driving instruction and transport planning). These activities
are spread throughout Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.
The majority of the sector's workforce are drivers
and customer-facing staff. It is a commercialised though highly
regulated sector. It includes a large number of self-employed
persons (taxi, private hire and driving instruction).
Many of the larger operators have good in house
training arrangements. Partly this is owing to the shortage of
appropriate public provision. In turn this means that the ability
to attract pubic funding for employer training requirements is
not as high as in some sectors.
Modern Apprenticeships are not well used. This
is partly a function of lack of publicly-funded provision. There
are currently modern apprenticeship frameworks available in five
occupational areas in Wales:
Transport Engineering and Maintenance (TEM)covering
engineering for the bus and coach industries; also appropriate
for some community transport operations. TEM is available at Modern
Apprenticeship and Advanced Modern Apprenticeship level.
Road Passenger Transport (RPT)covering
driving in the bus and coach industries; also appropriate for
some community transport operations. This apprenticeship is available
only at Modern Apprenticeship level.
Rail Transport Operations (RTO)covering
operational roles such as driving and customer services for the
rail industry; also appropriate for light rail. This framework
is available only at Modern Apprenticeship level.
Rail Transport Engineering (RTE)covering
engineering for the rail industry. This framework is available
at Modern Apprenticeship and Advanced Modern Apprenticeship level.
Aviationcovering operational roles such
as passenger handling for the airport and ground handling industries.
This framework is available at Modern Apprenticeship and Advanced
Modern Apprenticeship level.
There are fewer frameworks available in Wales
than in England.
Most of the National Occupational Standards
and qualifications for the sector have been developed to support
job roles at operative levels such as drivers. Although there
are some qualifications for roles at supervisory level, there
is little available for higher level job roles. Employers throughout
the sector have identified management skills as an area of need.
The lack of consistency of funding offeredWales
has Step up to Level 2 which offers a similar arrangement to Train
to Gain in England with regard to support for NVQ level 2 but,
it would seem that each employer initiative has to be bid for
separately, the majority of employers would be asked for a contribution,
but it seems this is not universal in all cases and contribution
levels where required appear to vary.
There is a drastic shortage of providers even
compared with England, where it is less than idealwe have
offered to bring in providers to develop colleges, other providers
etc, yet we still meet hurdles that suppliers must be Welsh. However,
with the new taxi project (see below) we seem to have been given
a little lee-way, in that our offer to bring in specialist providers
to train assessors etc has been provisionally accepted.
With regard to the above project, we were initially
told of all the different funding areas available for a taxiPhv
development across Wales. We have established partnerships with
local authorities and other stakeholders, agreed a pilot programme
and then told we have to prove a case for any funding.
The sector's demands for higher level skills
are conditioned by its structure and market. For those delivering
passenger transport services the general skills of business management
are required, often blended with operational knowledge. In Engineering,
there are both specialist needs in areas such as railway signalling
and track engineering and generalist in electrical, mechanical
and electronic. There is a recognised route via a second degree
for those entering the Transport Planning profession.
The demands are fulfilled via general higher
level programmes in business management, engineering degrees with
specialist input as required and dedicated transport planning
qualifications. Within the current English framework, our employers
are exploring the benefits of Foundation Degrees as they offer
work-based experience as a key component of the qualification.
This theme has value in Wales too.
There are links with Higher Education Institutes
on the transport agenda in general specifically the University
There is limited higher education provision
available for our sector. The Wales Transport Research Centre
is based in the University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd. The Centre
is currently writing the Wales Strategy for the Freight Transport
Association, but the majority of its work concerns passenger transport
policy. The University is the accredited centre for Wales for
the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. The centre
has also recently established a course for managers in the transport
sector. This one-year part-time course provides the underpinning
knowledge for Membership of the Chartered Institute of Logistics
and Transport (MCILT). Membership also requires at least four
years' work experience. The course has a capacity for 15 students,
and currently eight are enrolled. The Centre provides input to
degree courses in Transport plus another discipline. The two main
courses are Transport and Travel and Tourism, and Transport and
Many employers utilise in-house programmes for
development of staff to senior/middle management positions without
the use of higher education facilities.
Virtually no students undertook the identified
transport HE courses in North or Mid Wales (one student recorded
in each of the past two years).
We have a Welsh Sector Skills Agreement (SSA)
in place which should assist in improving the supply of skills
in Wales. The main issues uncovered by our SSA research in Wales
Economic predictions suggest that the Welsh passenger
transport sector will expand considerably over the next five years,
its rate of growth being the greatest of any of the UK nations.
Historical records show considerable short term variations, however,
due to the relatively small size of the industry. There are concerns
in some industries that comparatively high wages, for example
in the driving instruction industry, are encouraging people into
the profession despite the unsocial hours, and if wage differentials
are reduced there may be a large shift of people leaving for other
jobs with more conventional hours.
There is a need to improve basic IT skills in
Welsh sector employers face higher levels of
skill gaps than the sectors across the UK and for the Welsh economy.
The Welsh passenger transport sector faces many
of the same skills issues as the whole UK, however there is a
specific need for training in basic IT skills.
Looking into the future, Welsh companies saw
emerging needs in driving skills (13% of those surveyed), but
also driving instruction skills (12% of companies). Basic IT skills
(7% of companies) remains a priority, as well as a need for people
able to service passenger transport vehicles (vehicle engineering
skills were reported by 6% of companies).
As an indication of the growing demand for basic
IT skills, half of all companies would be happy with their employees
having less than intermediate IT skills, but this drops to 37%
when asked to look three years into the future.
Employees need to become engaged in training,
with a particular focus in enabling those with no qualifications
or NVQ level 1 to progress to NVQ level 2.
The proportion of the Welsh workforce without
any qualifications is higher than the UK average, although the
proportion of the workforce with NVQ level 2 or less is close
to the average for the UK.
Engagement with training is lower in Wales than
other parts of the UK, and there are also major difficulties in
locating local training provision. Anecdotal evidence gives examples
of companies using English providers as far away as Southampton
or London to meet their needs. Funding for training is also an
important issue for the nation, matching the difficulties faced
Our Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) Action Plan
is currently being implemented, overseen by our Welsh Employer
As part of our SSA, we have an agreement in
place with Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
relating to mutual support, the sharing of LMI and use of joint
One of our SSA projects involved the use of
drama through a Higher Education Institution to raise customer
service issues with managers and supervisors. This has been well
received by two businesses active in WalesArriva and Cardiff
City Bus. However, we have had to use the London-based Central
School of Speech and Drama.
All Welsh bus drivers have been trained in disability
awareness, in large part through funding support won by GoSkills.
This has been a relatively easy win in Wales owing to the relatively
greater importance of the bus in Wales as a passenger transport
medium. The position with regard to this training is not as good
We are commencing work with local licensing
authorities to improve the image and self-esteem of taxi and private
hire drivers through the achievement of recognised national qualifications
and hence improve service quality. It has been easier to implement
this latter reform in England owing to the higher level of skills
funding for businesses but the work is now beginning to take off
in Wales too.
FINANCIAL SERVICES SKILLS COUNCIL (FSSC)
The financial services sector engages widely
with private training providers. To reflect this, we, the Financial
Services Skills Council, have drawn from the experience of a private
training provider with LSC and other publicly funded contracts
and the experience of a further education college. Unfortunately,
we were not able to obtain specific information from any HEIs
to include within this report.
Gloucestershire College reports difficulties
in obtaining funding for students coming from Wales (and indeed
from LSC regions other than Gloucestershire). The difficulty appears
to stem from the need to ask permission for the funding to come
with the student, a process that is reported to be difficult and
The college has strong links with employers,
working with around 1000 employers annually, on a regular basis.
The college has an account management structure for employer engagement
and, depending on its nature; provision is delivered either through
individual schools within the college or by business units. Since
introducing the account management structure, the college has
increased the number of employers it works with by 30%. Its employer
engagement work is worth approximately £1 million in fees
and £3 million in total and includes: apprenticeship programmes,
Train to Gain, FE programmes, HE programmes, bespoke and full
Acorn Learning and Development, a private provider
in receipt of public funding, has a well-established programme
of employer engagement activities on both sides of the border.
In Wales, its activities include:
Liaison with SSCs to ensure they
are fully informed of the funded/commercial training programmes
provided to their sectors, attendance at SSC events.
Review of local publications to understand
business activities in Wales eg, Western Mail/Business magazines.
Information on training programmes
detailed on websitesAcorn website, Careers Wales "Choices"
website (this links to LearnDirect), Flexible Business Support
Website (Welsh Assembly), Business Eye.
Attendance at regular jobs fairs
held locally for employers and individuals, eg, Jobs Fairs, Ideal
Involvement in local initiatives
supported by the Welsh Assembly and Business bodies, eg, "Lead
On" Leadership Conference, DYSG Conferences, CBI Wales lunches/breakfasts/conferences,
IoD events, National Training Awards, Chamber of Commerce events.
Use of employer arrangements in existence
with Acorn Group Recruitment clients.
General marketing activities eg,
emails/press releases/sponsorship of sporting events/hospitality/local
sales activities/mail shots.
Collaborative initiatives with other
delivery partners eg, Local colleges/HE institutes/JCP.
Acorn does not actively market its services
to employers in England, as its strategic focus is working with
employers in Wales. However, the following activities are carried
Existing employers in Wales with
employees in Englandprovision of training and development
solutions is mostly commercial training only; where funding is
required Acorn would contact a training provider in England to
partner to access funding or collaborate on delivery.
Acorn Group Recruitment clientswhere
a client of the Group requires training and development solutions
in England, Acorn reviews the opportunity and provides costs on
commercial delivery, liaises with SSCs/LSC/RDA where necessary.
Where funding is required Acorn would contact training providers
in England to support/collaborate.
For employers with their own LSC contract, or
a training provider not contracted to provide funded services
in Wales, Acorn supports cross-border delivery by:
Sub-contracting some of its WAG WBL
contract to the organisation.
Becoming the delivery arm of that
organisation in Wales.
Becoming a partner for partial delivery
of the programme in Wales.
Acorn's experience suggests that a collaborative
or partnership approach to cross-border delivery facilitated professionally
between delivery partners, whether private providers, further
education colleges or higher education institutions, is the most
successful route to ensuring that employers' needs are fully met.
Acorn has found that in practice, there is a
lack of awareness and understanding of how such partnerships can
work. Other providers, and indeed employers, with national LSC
contracts have very little information about how support can be
implemented cross-border. Acorn would welcome such information
being provided more widely and being more accessible to all.
CREATIVE & CULTURAL SKILLS COUNCIL
Creative & Cultural Skills wishes there
to be a parity of approach and access to funding and excellence
in terms of skills development and training in both England and
Wales, in particular supporting talented young Welsh people.
One of the priorities for the Creative &
Cultural Skills Wales Employers Group is Creative Apprenticeships.
The LSC in England supports Creative Apprenticeships and we hope
that this qualification receives the same support in Wales. In
Wales, all-age apprenticeships are welcomed; the focus in England
is still on young people.
The National Skills Academy (NSA) in England,
that aims to reduce skills gaps and shortages in backstage and
off-stage skills, has now been approved by UK government. Creative
Apprenticeships will form part of its core offer. The same skills
gaps and shortages in Wales exist and a Centre for Excellence
is proposed in Wales linked to the Wales Millennium Centre. The
ambition is for it to be part of the NSA network with education
and employer partnerships throughout Wales. Through Creative Apprenticeships
and the Centre for Excellence, Creative & Cultural Skills
wishes to identify and develop Welsh talent and also attract talent
into Wales on UK-wide recognised standards. Support is needed
for these programmes so that people in Wales are not disadvantaged.
They must have the equality of opportunity and the same clear
progression routes in and into industry.
SUMMIT SKILLS COUNCIL FOR BUILDING SERVICES
We have a peripatetic workforce and they need
a clear simplified set of qualifications that they can use UK
wide, there are so many differences in the UK now it's quite difficult
for them to understand the complexities of it. Also, the functional
math's elements were developed with employers in England to ensure
that the candidates have the requisite skills to be able to complete
a Level 3 qualification. Level 3 is the minimum standard for a
plumber, electrician and HVCA engineer throughout the UK. Functional
math's has not been adopted here in Wales; there was no consultation
with us from the qualifications team in the Assembly.
T2G in England has seen a significant uptake
of training in our sector, it's not perfect but then nothing is.
The workforce development fund is one of the biggest secrets around,
employers don't know about it. No advertising from the WAG on
it at all. The ones that do know about it think the process is
complicated and not worth the hassle. Training providers who work
cross border constantly ask for T2G in Wales. The system is well
marketed, simple to access and has engaged employers; this is
not true for workforce development fund.
FE/HE COLLEGES IN
In our sector this has been going on for years
due to the lack of available provision. No level 3 refrigeration
courses means Bath College has been the only provider for Wales.
N Wales has lost out completely. We have a shortage of consultants
at level 4, most of our students go to England for training.
Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the
Creative Media industries. Jointly funded by industry and government,
our job is to make sure that the UK creative media industries
have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place,
at the right time, so that our industries remain competitive.
We are responsible for the following sectors:
Publishing, Television, Film, Radio, Animation, Interactive Media,
Computer Games, Photo Imaging, Facilities and Publishing.
We have offices in England (with representation
in the nine regions), Wales (Skillset Cymru), Scotland and Northern
Skillset Cymru published its Sector Skills Agreement
for Wales in 2005. Below are the themes we base our actions upon,
in order to meet the needs of our industries:
Informal and Community Learning.
Further and Higher Education.
Post Entry Trainingentry-level
Information, Advice and Guidance.
Business and Company Development.
The majority of the companies in the creative
media industry in Wales are SMEs. Research carried out as part
of the Sector Skills Agreement process identified the need for:
targeted contextualised business support, a need for business,
management and leadership training, support for small businesses
to develop higher level specialised skills.
Our research also shows that in our sectors
66% of the workforce is graduates and 24% hold postgraduate qualifications.
Over 70% of employers see FE and HE as providing the potential
to support pre-entry skills and specialized knowledge. The industry
has identified a need to work more strategically with FE and HE
providers to target resources to known centres or courses of excellence
and to assist students and funding bodies making informed decisions
The feedback we get from our industries in Wales
regarding the HE provision available in our sectors often mentions
the lack of relevance with the reality of the work environment.
Industry usually resolves to in-house training or private specialised
training (at high cost) in order to address skill gaps.
Moreover, industry feedback suggests that the
institutions are sometimes driven by the funding formulas to focus
on number of learners at the detriment of quality and relevance
to our industries.
We recognise that HE provision is vital to the
success of our industries but in order to meet their needs and
contribute to their economic development, it needs to be more
Skillset works extensively with Further and
Higher Education across the UK. Based on our research and consultation
with our industries, we have established UK-wide networks of FE
and HE institutions which industry has signposted as providing
excellence in specialist sub-sector provision. These networks
involve Welsh FE and HE institutions and we explain in more detail
Although we would welcome any initiatives of
further collaboration amongst the two Higher Education funding
councils (HEFCE and HEFCW) in particular, the relationships are
working well so far.
The industry is interested in quality provision
wherever this can be supplied; competition, we believe, is healthy
in raising the standards and we have noted instances where specialist
training was not available through the FE and HE sector in Wales,
or indeed its neighbouring English Regions. For example, a new
entrants programme for the post production industries that we
successfully run in Wales (called First Post) was delivered in
Wales by the collaboration of a Welsh company (Barcud Derwen)
and a London-based training facilitator (Soho Editors). The collaboration
provided an opportunity to develop the capacity for specialist
post-production training in Wales.
It is also worth noting that the Skillset Cymru's
Training Framework, supported through the Welsh Assembly's Workforce
Development Programme, is another success story for our industries
in Wales. Key to the success is the flexibility that the programme
provides by supporting a sector-specific integrated offer of Company,
Freelance / Individual and Training support. This we believe is
a good practice model that our Welsh industries are benefiting
More details on this also below.
WITH FE & HE AND
As we mentioned before, our industries need
a consistent supply of relevant high-level skills in order to
remain competitive in a global market. Therefore, all our sector
strategies have identified working with Further and Higher Education
as a priority.
Skillset's work with Further and Higher Education
is pioneering in bringing together partnerships of FE, HE and
industry in order to address industry's skills needs. Responding
to the needs of specific sub-sectors of the creative industries,
Skillset has devised solutions that are beneficiary to our industries,
learners and the Further and Higher Education sector. These solutions
are UK-wide and they encourage better co-ordination of FE and
HE institutions across the borders through a network of Skillset
Academies and Accredited courses:
The Skillset Media Academies form
a network of colleges and universities across the UK which are
Centres of Excellence in television and interactive media, selected
by an industry-led panel. http://www.skillset.org/training/san/sma/
The Skillset Screen Academies are
institutions which the UK film industry has identified as those
offering the highest quality of skills training for film. http://www.skillset.org/training/san/ssa/
Working with industry, Skillset also
accredits practice-based courses in FE and HE that most effectively
provide learners with the skills and knowledge that employers
The overall aim of the Skillset Screen Academy
Wales is to enhance the quality of film education (which impacts
on all other creative industries through the transferable skills
gained), and therefore increase employability within the creative
industries and retain creative talent.
The lead partners are Cardiff School of Creative
and Cultural Industries (CCI) within the University of Glamorgan
and the International Film School Wales (IFSW) at the University
of Wales, Newport. The Academy also brings together other key
centres of excellence in film-related vocational training and
education: the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; Cardiff
Business School; Swansea Metropolitan University; Cyfle, the national
vocational training company for the film, television and interactive
media industry in Wales, is the lead consultant to the partners.
Skillset has been approached by the consortium
of institutions constituting the Screen Academy Wales. They are
working towards a bid to become a Skillset Media Academy. The
bid will be considered in autumn 2008.
Currently, there are four industry accredited
HE courses in Wales in two HE institutions:
BA in Computer Animation, HND in Art & Design
(Computer Animation) & BA Hons Animation at the Glamorgan
Centre for Art & Design Technology.
BA (Hons) Animation at the University of Wales,
These institutions also receive funding through
HEFCW and industry support through Skillset in the form of master-classes,
work placements and representation in industry festival and events.
Digital Media Consortia is a partnership of
six Higher Education Institutes dedicated to increasing communication
and collaboration between academia and the digital media sector.
It is the Consortia's intended role to work with industry to help
develop new markets and products and develop industrially relevant
training provision for the Digital Media Sector.
Skillset Cymru is working closely with its partners
to develop new Management and Leadership courses for the creative
media industries in Partnership with PACT, Cyfle and Learning
to Inspire. They will be covering areas such as marketing, budgets
and finance, staff and production management. We will be looking
at appropriate HE engagement in delivering these courses.
The Skillset Cymru Training Framework, supports
creative media production companies and freelancers to enhance
their skills in the challenging and constantly evolving creative
The framework, developed in partnership with
S4C and the Welsh Assembly Government, is open to all Wales-based
freelancers and companies and provides:
1. Company supportemployers will
access the services of a Human Resource Advisor to develop Business
Learning and Development Plans and then access funding to implement
these plans and train their staff. Companies will have to offer
some match funding.
2. Freelance supportfreelancers
can also access a HR Advisor for guidance and funding to attend
any training of their choicefunding could cover up to 80%
of their training fees.
3. Funding for Training Providersthere
is separate funding for training providers to develop programmes
that address specific industry skill needs.
We believe that better communication and flexibility
between industry and HE will increase the economic contribution
of the HE sector in the Welsh economy and help raise its productivity
through the high level skills of its citizens.
Greater interaction is needed to ensure specialist
training is relevant, affordable and graduates are employable.
Consistent investment for specialist education focusing on quality
will have in the long run greater impact in the economic development.
The format for funding for Further and Higher
education currently works on a payment per student principle for
the institutionso Universities are encouraged to run popular
courses, which may not serve the needs of the industry. With a
wide range of FE/HE provision available of varying quality and
relevance, industry has indicated to us that it wishes to see
resources targeted to develop centres and courses of excellence
to better assist students and funding bodies make more informed
decision about programmes of study and their careers.
We would like to note that Skillset Cymru has
submitted these views to the Welsh Assembly Government through
the Skills that Work for Wales consultation and the Welsh Assembly's
Government inquiry into the economic contribution of Higher Education.
We have also expressed our views on the importance
of provision for high level skills for the development of a thriving
Welsh broadcasting industry to the Welsh Broadcasting Committee
and we are making similar points to the Public Service Broadcasting
Review currently conducted through OFCOM.
In line with the National Assembly emphasis
on skills and learning, Skillset has developed a Sector Qualifications
Strategy for Wales. The key priorities identified include:
Create a greater offer of flexible
training for individuals including accredited in-house training
schemes, by maximising the opportunities offered by Credit and
Qualifications In Wales.
Raise standards in Wales in both
FE and work based learning at levels 3 and 4, undertaking a review
of existing vocational qualifications and create a comprehensive
and demand led offer.
Encourage sustainable partnerships
between industry and education and work with delivery partners
to help develop and sustain effective collaboration between industry
and education in Wales.
SKILLS FOR JUSTICE
1.1 This memorandum is the response of Skills
for Justice, to the Welsh Affairs Committee letter to Karen Nimmo,
Alliance of Sector Skills Councils dated 21 April 2008.
2.1 Skills for Justice is the Sector Skills
Council covering all employers, employees and volunteers working
in the UK justice system. The Skills for Justice footprint in
Wales comprises 24,600 employees, which is 2% of the entire Welsh
population. This includes Community Justice; Court Services; Custodial
Care operating in both the public and private sectors; Policing
and Law Enforcement and Prosecution Services.
2.2 The Sector Skills Agreement is an assessment
of skills needs and priorities within the Justice sector. It identifies
and articulates the sector's further workforce and skill needs
so that employers, learning providers and Skills for Justice can
take collaborative action to address them. It is intended to provide
a means whereby employers and employees in the Justice sector
can identify skills and productivity needs, the action they will
take to meet those needs, and how they will collaborate with providers
of training and skills so that skills demand can directly shape
the nature of supply.
2.3 Skills for Justice concluded its SSA
in Wales in November 2007 and subsequently agreed a partnership
agreement with HEFCW which is outlined below as the basis for
an on-going relationship between the Sector and Welsh HEIs. As
a result of this agreement there are emerging partnerships with
3. FACTUAL INFORMATION
3.1 The Committee has requested written
evidence on the following issues:
Student recruitment and retention.
The way in which further and higher
education institutes engage with employers on both sides of the
3.2 As the Sector Skills Council for the
Justice Sector, Skills for Justice has a UK wide remit with representation
in all four nations. In November 2007 when we agreed our Sector
Skills Agreement we drew up a three year action plan with partners
including Welsh Assembly Government, Careers Wales, Job Centre
Plus, Wales TUC and the Higher Education Funding Council for WalesHEFCW.
3.3 The Skills for Justice SSA highlighted
that the vast majority of employers within the Justice sector
provide training for their staff, more than 85% across the UK
rely on in-house provision. The focus is predominantly on training
at entry level for specialist staff such as Police Officers or
Probation Officers and initial training ranging from a few weeks
to two years. Substantial time, money, resource and planning is
focused on induction and probationer training with the sector.
There are several examples of how the HE sector is making provision
to accommodate the justice sector in Wales for example:
(a) University of Glamorgan
The University of Glamorgan has founded
the Glamorgan Centre for Police Sciences which is a multidisciplinary
group of academic staff researching and teaching in police related
matters. All initial police learning and development for South
Wales Police Officers is delivered at the University of Glamorgan
by a mixture of serving Police Officers and University Staff.
All new recruits undertake a two year foundation degree in Police
Studies. There is also an advanced appointment scheme for those
students studying on the full time Police Studies degree whereby
students enroll as Special Constables during their studies and
upon graduation could become fully fledged police officers.
University of Glamorgan has been innovative
in its approach to meet the needs and demands not just of the
police service. For example our SSA highlights a problem with
a lack of training for multi-agency working. From next year a
module on "Dealing with Vulnerable People" will be offered
and will see student police officers, health visitors, social
workers and nurses coming together for joint tutorials which should
naturally encourage multi agency working.
(b) UPSIUniversities' Police Science
The Universities Police Science Institute
(UPSI) has been established to enhance and develop the professionalism
of the police service. It will do this by improving the evidence
based available to inform how policing is configured, delivered
The UPSI is based upon an innovative
collaboration between Cardiff University, the University of Glamorgan
(through the Glamorgan Centre for Police Sciences) and South Wales
Police. This partnership enables the Institute to:
Apply innovative research
methodologies and conceptual frameworks to the investigation of
the most pressing challenges confronting the police.
Use its inter-disciplinary
orientation so that the latest research evidence directly informs
the training and development of new recruits to the police, as
well as existing staff.
Design, implement and rigorously
test new solutions to problems, so that policing agencies can
deliver services that meet the needs of all communities.
Enhance the education and
training of police personnel to promote evidence-based decision
(c) Swansea Metropolitan University
Swansea Metropolitan University has
been working very closely with South Wales Police to develop a
program for Leadership and Managementinitially for those
recently promoted to sergeant and inspector. The program is being
developed jointly between SWP, SMU and Skills for Justice will
be based upon National Occupational Standards and mapped across
to a formal qualification. The project is still very much in the
development stage but has been a very clear example of how a University
can develop a flexible delivery model in order to meet the needs
of an operational police service.
Swansea Metropolitan University has
also made accommodation available to South Wales Police to base
their Western Professional Development Unit at the University.
(d) University of Wales College Newport &
University of Wales College Newport
were one of only four UK HEI's to successfully bid to provide
the Degree and Diploma (NVQ 4) in Probation Studies. The course
can be delivered and examined through the medium of Welsh and
has been developed as a joint exercise with Bangor Universitywho
deliver the course to students in North Wales.
3.4 Out of the four issues highlighted in
your letter we can only comment on the last point relating to
cross border engagement. There are difficulties in our sector
as the function of law enforcement and policing is not devolved.
Prisons are not devolved, where as Education is. We currently
have an issue where in England, Her Majesty's Prison Service is
using Train to Gain funds to finance Leadership and Development
training whereas Wales has four prisons but no access to the Train
to Gain fund.
These examples may affect the way in which further
and higher education institutes engage with employers on both
sides of the border. However, from the perspective of Skills for
Justice it is too early to envisage what affect this may be.
4.1 At the current time, Skills for Justice
is unable to provide any further factual information to the Committee.
However, as progress against the Wales action plan with HEFCW
is achieved and further engagement made with HEI's in Wales, Skills
for Justice will be in a stronger position to comment in the future.
SEMTA (SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING
TECHNOLOGIES SECTORS) COUNCIL
1. Semta has focused on the employer engagement
of further and higher education. Our view is that employer engagement
is patchy for a number of reasons, which are common across the
UK, but that the challenges faced by FE and HE in engagement are
2. Industry owned and led, Semta aims to
increase the impact of skilled people throughout the science,
engineering and manufacturing technologies sectors.
3. We work with employers to determine their
current and future skills needs and to provide short and long
term skills solutions, whether that be training and skills development,
or campaigning with government and other organisations to change
things for the better. Through our labour market intelligence
and insights from employers across our sectors, we identify change
needed in education and skills policy and practice, and engage
with key industry partners and partners in the education and training
sector, to help increase productivity at all levels in the workforce.
4. The sectors we represent are: Aerospace;
Automotive; Bioscience; Electrical; Electronics; Maintenance;
Marine; Mathematics; Mechanical; Metals and Engineered Metal Products.
5. Semta is part of the network of 25 employer-led
Sector Skills Councils.
6. Semta manages a 4 Nations Group, which
was set up specifically to highlight cross-border issues, and
promote good practice across the four nations of the UK. This
group has already identified a specific issue with the lack of
a joined up strategy for UK PLC, which positions the needs of
the economy within the business strategy for the higher education
funding councils and Universities UK.
7. FE employer engagement in England is
variable, with some colleges and providers managing to offer a
wide range of training services appropriate to and tailored for
companies in our sector.
8. The engineering sector is particularly
fortunate in its network of Group Training Associations (which
are found in England, Scotland and Wales), which provide apprenticeship
management services, and bespoke training which is especially
relevant for small firms.
9. The issues around FE employer engagement
are typical across the 4 nations, namely:
(a) Lack of flexibility of provision, particularly
in colleges, whereby courses are offered from a "menu"
of content and delivery which does not permit an employer to access
the kind of short, "just-in-time", on-site courses it
requires. This is usually due to the funding being linked to completion
of whole qualifications, which necessitates the provider charging
full cost for any provision outside this. Private providers may
have an advantage in the "full cost" market as they
have more credibility with employers to deliver bespoke, specialist
(b) Indirect and direct cost to FE and employers
of the process of engagementsetting up networks, and spending
time building relationships can be a costly process for both parties.
(c) FE college staff lack of time to improve
their vocational skills in the workplace. One of the ways in which
employer engagement can be facilitated is through tutor placements
in industry, but the process of setting these up and giving them
proper support is time-consuming. FE tutors' current industry
knowledge can be somewhat patchy, which also means their training
delivery may compare poorly to that from private providers who
can call on current practitioners.
(d) Potential conflict between many colleges'
ethos of social inclusion, and the principle of "skills for
employability" which is increasingly their remit. Some colleges
have built their excellent reputations on local community links,
helping those on the margins of society engage for the very first
time in meaningful learning, but this reputation means local employers
do not see them as credible providers of technical training.
(e) The necessarily competitive market for employer
training can lead to employers being "turned off" from
FE providers, particularly if they are cold-called repeatedly
by local providers, all offering similar provision and funding.
10. As mentioned previously, HE has particular
issues in that economic need should be embedded in the strategy
for funding across the four nations, in order to present a coherent
picture. HE is more of a national and international consideration
than FE, with students and institutions engaging across borders.
11. Issues with employer engagement with
(a) Problems of "language"HE
uses a very different vocabulary to that of business, and the
two sides can feel that their viewpoint is little understood by
the other. University career structures and succession plans should
give more importance, currency and priority to relevant job roles
where business knowledge and experience will add value; thus encouraging
staff in these job roles to maintain and improve their business
knowledge and experience via employer secondments. However, these
career structures and succession planning processes must be transparent
to give staff the incentive to develop this knowledge and experience.
Current higher education culture does not appear to encourage
this type of personal development.
(b) Similarly to FE, HE has a potential conflict
between meeting employer needs and its wider accepted remitnot
social inclusion in this case, but rather the enlargement of knowledge,
and development of pure research. Balancing these priorities can
(c) Although employers recognise and value higher
education qualifications, not enough of these qualifications deliver
the business-driven higher level skills that employers need and
demand to drive their businesses forward. As a consequence employers
buy the majority of the business driven higher level skills training
and education from the private sector. The higher education sector
needs to work more closely with Sector Skills Councils and employers
to fully understand employer needs and demands for higher level
skills and then develop new products and services that employers
are prepared to buy.
Higher Apprenticeship at Airbus
12. The Higher Engineering Apprenticeship
is being delivered for Airbus via a partnership arrangement between
North East Wales Institute and Deeside College. Working with Semta,
the company and providers have been able to develop a programme
which meets the needs of the company, and which can be funded
through existing channels. The Higher Engineering Apprenticeship
comprises a Foundation Degree (or HND), NVQs at Levels 3 and 4,
and Key Skills to the highest levels. It also links to professional
standards through the engineering institutions. The individual
therefore achieves a nationally recognised set of qualifications
within a framework of delivery which suits the company, and which
provides the skills the company needs both now and in the future.
Work on composites
13. In the Deeside area, work has recently
been undertaken to establish the feasibility of the establishment
of a Composite Skills Academy. The academy would particularly
support the aerospace sector across the UK as it moves into advanced
composites, but other sectors such as marine, automotive, construction
and healthcare would also benefit. There is clearly a will to
become world class behind such projects, and we hope the Committee
will consider supporting schemes which are built on strong employer
ASSET SKILLS COUNCIL (PROPERTY SERVICES,
HOUSING FACILITIES MANAGEMENT AND CLEANING INDUSTRIES)
Higher Education plays an important role in
developing skills across the Built Environment sector and therefore
makes a significant financial contribution to the Welsh economy.
Asset Skills is the Sector Skills Council (SSC)
responsible for the skills interests of employers in the Property
Services, Housing, Facilities Management and Cleaning industries.
It represents employers and organisations throughout Wales and
the UK that provide services to owners and occupiers of all types
of property (commercial, public and private).
There is an Asset Skills Cymru board of employers
representing our four sectors, comprising a cross section of Welsh
companies and UK national ones with offices or branches in Wales.
This gives an employer cross section of SMEs, larger focused Welsh
companies and also firms with a UK perspective but also Welsh
interest. Asset Skills has also developed an extensive data-base
of employers that can be filtered to target specific geographical
areas, sectors and size of companies.
The main issues for our employers regarding
cross border issues would affect the UK wide employers with employees/offices
in Wales due to the differences in accessing training and funding
eg the Employer Pledge in Wales is different to the Employer Pledge
Procurement would also be an issue due to different
procedures in Wales and England. These would also be issues for
employers operating near the borders eg Wrexham, Monmouth, where
within a short operating distance the differences in funding opportunities,
training, qualifications and procurement opportunities could be
Profile of the Asset Skills Sector in Wales
The Asset Skills sector in Wales
employs about 31,600 people.
About 45% of the workforce is employed
in Property and Housing and about 55% in the Facilities Management
and Industrial Cleaning industries.
93% of all Asset Skills' workplaces
in Wales are small, employing between 1-10 people.
The proportion of the UK Asset Skills
workforce employed in Wales (4%) is marginally lower than the
proportion of total UK employment located in Wales (about 5%).
An area that has been highlighted in Asset Skills'
Sector Needs Analysis (SNA) carried out for our Sector Skills
Agreement is the gender/age deficit, especially related to the
surveying profession. This has been exacerbated in Wales due to
a lack of surveying courses with students having to travel out
of Wales for course provision and then often failing to return
to Wales for employment possibly due to wage differentials. A
report by Asset Skills on the Analysis of HE Provision within
the Asset Skills Sector showed that surveying students from Wales
12% in the North East of England.
9% in the East Midlands.
5% in the South West of England.
5% in the West Midlands.
5% in Yorkshire and Humberside.
A shortage of town planners, especially in local
authorities, has also been highlighted in Asset Skills' SNA. Students
from Wales in planning courses in England comprised:
12% in the South West of England.
5% in the West Midlands.
3% in the South East of England.
The number of Welsh students travelling out
of Wales to study housing courses is very small, the highest percentage
being 2% in both the North West of England and West Midlands.
This could be explained by accessibility to courses within Wales
with relatively little need to travel to access a suitable course
and also good linkages with Welsh employers. UWIC (University
of Wales Institute, Cardiff), is also seeing students apply from
the Midlands, Marches and the South West of England with around
12% of their full time students coming from outside Wales, and
is developing employer links in those areas. However, with regard
to part time students connected with UWIC, on qualification a
small number have left their organisations to work in England,
in areas such as the Forest of Dean, Hereford, Gloucestershire
and Bristol. This is primarily for experience in higher level
posts and they tend to return to Wales when an opportunity arises.
It is hoped that the shortages in HE courses
within surveying and planning will in some way be addressed by
the introduction this academic year of a number of RICS (Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors) accredited courses in surveying
and planning at the University of Glamorgan eg Foundation Degree
in Surveying, HNC in Surveying and MSc Construction Project Management
along with undergraduate courses in Quantity Surveying and Real
Estate Appraisal and Project Management. These are in addition
to five RICS accredited under-graduate and master's courses already
run by Cardiff University.
Asset Skills' Sector Needs Analysis also identified
the following as issues and skills needs relevant to the HE Sector
More effective employer engagement
Undergraduate provision which better
meets the needs of employers.
Developing qualifications: demand
for specialist skills and qualifications eg regeneration.
Refining HE provision in Facilities
Management (FM) and developing FM as a career.
Making housing more attractive as
a career option to graduates.
Tackling the gender and age deficit
within the surveying profession.
Address the undersupply of town planners.
Closing the skills gaps between academic
knowledge and reality of undertaking work especially as a chartered
To meet the skills needs that have been highlighted
above by our Sector Needs Analysis an HE Built Environment
Forum of HEI providers working in Asset Skills' sectors has
been set up at Asset Skills' instigation.
So far the response from HEIs has been positive
with eight institutions participating. Asset Skills is in the
process of gathering employers to input into the forum and a number
of employers are already committed to an ongoing dialogue with
HEIs. The employers involved are all Welsh based but some are
part of larger organisations which will provide an opportunity
to assess any cross border needs. We will also propose to the
forum that when there are cross border interests that these be
looked at as well.
Asset Skills sees HEIs as an important
element in delivering their SSA and in meeting the skills needs
Bringing together HEIs which have
common ground and can work together to avoid duplication so that
resources are best used and provide graduates who are as `work
ready' as possible would benefit the Asset Skills sectors.
We are also looking to develop similar
engagement in the further education sector.
Asset Skills is the Sector Skills
Council for the Property Services, Housing, Facilities Management
and Cleaning industries.
Asset Skills was licensed as an SSC
in 2005 and was a combination of national training organisations
that joined together.
Asset Skills Cymru's SSA was completed
and signed in October 2007.
Asset Skills' Sector Qualification
Strategy was approved in March this year.
Direct funding has been received
from Wales since Asset Skills was licensed to facilitate the delivery
of sector specific projects.
Asset Skills' Welsh Language Scheme
has been approved in draft form and is due to go for consultation
in the next two months.
The Head of Asset Skills Cymru is
based in Wales. Asset Skills has had a dedicated Welsh presence
since it was licensed in 2005.
LANTRA COUNCIL (LAND BASED AND ENVIRONMENTAL
The land-based and environmental sector is currently
served by a network of specialist learning providers. This provision
often comes at a cost though, both in terms of estates, capital
investment, higher unit costs and provision of residential accommodation.
There are concerns that increased pressure for these institutions
to amalgamate, particularly with larger general providers, would
have a detrimental effect on their quality and sectoral focus.
One particular example is the Welsh College of Horticulture where
the current debate concerning amalgamation is polarised between
working with a larger local FE provider or seeking a strategic
partnership with an HE provider. The latter solution would provide
both improved progression routes for students and access to higher
level courses in horticulture in Wales for the first time.
In respect of curriculum development, The Welsh
College of Horticulture is also actively involved in a consortium
supporting delivery of the Specialised Diploma in Cheshire and
sees this work as also benefiting the development delivery of
the land-based Welsh Baccalaureate. This synergy will further
enhance individuals' progression routes within horticulture.
Where no specialist HE provision exists, as
for instance with Veterinary Sciences, any aspirant Welsh student
must travel to other parts of the United Kingdom. With significantly
higher levels of tuition fees in England, this has the potential
to cause barriers to access.
There has been a strong flow of students in
both directions across the border in order to access specialist
land-based provision; if funding barriers were to be put in place
this would both damage access for individuals and may put pressure
on the financial sustainability of those specialist Welsh providers
close to border with England.
COGENT COUNCIL (CHEMICALS, PHARMACEUTICALS,
NUCLEAR, OIL AND GAS, PETROLEUM AND POLYMERS)
1. It is difficult for SSC regional managers
to comment on cross border issues since if they solely represent
Wales they may be unaware of activities in England.
2. As the education and skills policies
of England and Wales increasingly diverge there will need to be
additional resources to scrutinize and respond to changes. For
example, England will raise the school leaving age to 18 within
five years and Wales has no plans to do so and activities to address
NEET youngsters are diverging.
3. Employers require ever higher employee
skills to remain competitive and are increasingly confused by
different qualifications, for example the English diploma and
the Welsh Baccalaureate are similar but with subtle differences.
The engineering diploma starts in England in September but the
engineering Baccalaureate starts in September 2009. The engineering
outcome aspects are the same but supporting learning differ. Cogent
industries are often global in nature, so comparing potential
employee's qualifications will become increasingly difficult.
4. Cogent has received approval for two
National Skills Academies (one for nuclear NSAN, and one for the
process industries NSAPI), which are wholly owned subsidiaries.
These will become the delivery mechanism for the relevant Sector
Skills Agreements, with employer led National Occupational Standards
and Sector Qualification Strategies developed. NSAN has been recognized
in Wales (given its employer support and strategic importance
in Anglesea, but support for future National Skills Academies
in Wales is being reviewed.
5. Cogent are developing foundation degrees
for its industry sectors, supported by Foundation Degree Forward
in England, but support for foundation degrees in Wales is being
6. Cogent supports the increasingly important
composites sector for aviation, but there are differing training
support mechanisms for Filton in Bristol and Broughton in North
ENERGY & UTILITY SKILLS COUNCIL
Energy & Utility Skills is the Sector Skills
Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water industries.
Employer-led, our purpose is to identify employers' skills needs
and provide effective solutions to improve business performance
across the UK.
The energy and utility sector in Wales is a
critical and significant sector and employs around 30,000 people.
The sector in Wales has a strong history of
reliability and dependability stretching back some 50 years. Electricity,
gas and water in particular have a sound brand name founded on
a skilled workforce platform.
Our sector faces advancing technology, rapid
change, global competition and rising expectations of choice.
The skills of our people and their continuing development are
crucially important to employers and employees.
The sector has an aging workforce and is faced
with a declining number of young people entering the workforce.
This relates specifically to suitable candidates for skilled roles
which are so important to the continued improvements in productivity
sought by the economic regulators. Work is needed to ensure that
the sector is perceived as an attractive career choice for young
people and those from non-traditional employment pools.
There is good evidence to suggest that those
who come to work for the sector stay for significantly longer
than the UK average. This suggests that the challenge of getting
candidates across the doorstep can be addressed; our sector will
be able to meet the upskilling challenge needed by its workforce
to meet the challenges ahead.
Additionally, Energy & Utility Skills represents
sectors with a higher than average demand for high level, graduate
skills, particularly in the STEM subjects, with Water and Electricity
having employees with qualifications at level 4/5 at 30% compared
to 22% for the whole economy.
There is also significant evidence of skills
gaps in the emerging renewable energy industry, particularly in
design, maintenance and installation. Also skills gaps exist within
the gas industry among technicians, engineers and supervisors/managers.
Within the waste management and utility contracting
industries, a clear need exists to up-skill the existing workforce
in basic, functional and technical skills
Energy & Utility Skills completed its SSA
process in November 2007.
Our five major skills priorities are being developed
and delivered in Wales. A few examples from each of these priorities
which will deliver both macro and micro change are outlined below:
Our employers consider that one of our strategic
sector skills solutions is the need to develop a strong, sector-wide
influencing position to take to government which supports the
strategic skills needs of the sector.
The electricity, upstream gas and water industries
are subject to economic and safety-related regulation. The continued
focus on driving efficiency and downsizing has had an adverse
impact on medium and longer-term investment in people and skills.
Currently, these industries have an ageing workforce and long
lead-times to replace these essential people who provide critical
services and therefore, potentially significant skills shortages
may well present themselves in the next five to 15 years.
Our employers need competent and productive people.
In electricity and gas (both upstream and downstream) there is
a real need to review all the qualifications that currently exist
and renew them with employer involvement. Across the whole of
EU Skills sector footprint, we are attempting to develop a more
flexible approach to qualifications that will give our employers
a wider range of options in the future. Employer-led, our Sector
Qualification Strategy (SQS) is based on National Occupational
Standards (NOS), which are benchmarks of competence for specified
occupations that employees can be measured against. The SQS will
allow skills and knowledge to be recognised and credit matched
against those standards. This process has begun in 2008. For more
information on the SQS please contact Hal Igarishi at Energy &
Utility Skills, email@example.com.
In Wales, employers have committed to working
in collaboration during 2007-08 and 2008-09, investing "in-kind"
support to renewing the qualification structure and competence
frameworks to meet the needs of their 21st century businesses.
In Wales employers are prepared to invest in
new people and to up-skill their existing workforce; however,
they identified a significant shortage in training provision and
capacity. Historically many employers have been forced to seek
provision across the border in England. The need to improve provision
is therefore clearly demonstrated across all areas of learning
in Wales both within Further and Higher Education provision and
within the private training provider sector.
The Welsh Higher Education Institutions have
an integral part to play in addressing the changing needs of our
industries and in providing flexible learning programmes that
meet employers' needs; specifically we are working in collaboration
with HEFCW and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Wales.
These institutions have committed to addressing the collective
needs of the "Sustainable Energy" aspect within the
sector, with a focus on new technologies and in utilising best
practice in work-based learning techniques.
5. Sector Recruitment & Attractiveness
Our employer-led research has confirmed it is
increasingly difficult for our employers to attract and recruit
the correct people into our industries. This problem is exacerbated
by an ageing workforce and long lead-times to develop competent
individuals. Nationally we have agreed to work with employers,
stakeholders and partners to develop and implement a sustainable
sector recruitment and attractiveness strategy.
ENERGY & UTILITY
Energy & Utility Skills' footprint contains
a range of diverse employers. Many of the employers within the
sector, particularly within the Electricity, Water and Upstream
Gas, are the large asset owning companies who work across not
one, but sometimes all three of the mainland nations within the
UK- for example National Grid, RWEnPower, Wales and West Utilities,
Western Power Distribution, Scottish Power. Other large organisations
work as contractors and subcontractors into the asset owners,
such as United Utilities, Amec and Balfour Beatty.
Many of these organisations can access little
or no provision in Wales. Water contractors currently source training
with a private training companies and FE colleges based in England
to support their work with Dwr Cymru and while shortages of work
based learning assessors are prevalent throughout the UK, these
shortages are critical in Wales. There is currently no waste management
training offered with the public sector at FE level in Wales.
Energy & Utility Skills are currently developing a bid into
Welsh Assembly Government which will develop a network of provision
across FE and the private sector.
However, there are examples of Wales providing
exemplar provision. Bridgend College, currently hold the contract
with RWEnPower to train all the generation apprentices for the
Midlands, South and West of England, and Wales. Bridgend College
won this contract through a competitive tendering bid.
EUS are striving to develop consortia arrangements
between employers and HE/FE. This is based on collaborative development
and delivery of higher skills programmes/solutions. The role of
EUS is to facilitate these collaborative arrangements in order
to optimise sustainable higher skills provision.
Whilst recognising the desire for national diversity
the cross border challenges include:
Parity on qualifications or at least
comparability that is recognisable to employers (eg Foundation
The introduction of the Diploma and
the inclusion of the PLL into the Welsh Bac is an example of potential
areas of confusion for employers.
Any developments in the Work Based
Learning Pathway for an employer who works across borders will
be difficult, when the YA programme is already offered, and funded
and managed differently in England.
Academic credit systems that enable
portability of qualifications.
and transparency of funding agency policies. Eg HEFCE/HEFCW, Step
up Sector/Workforce Development Fund/Train to Gain.
Funding of apprentice training is
a particular example. Employers in the sector have to deal with
cross border funding inconsistencies, and employers with their
own (excellent) in house systems have, in the past, turned away
from government funding because of a heavy burden of bureaucracy
which was exacerbated by audit and quality checks carried out
by stakeholders from different departments with duplications across
the nations. This confusion over funding may well turn employers
away from recruiting apprentices.
GOVERNMENT SKILLS COUNCIL
1.1 This memorandum is the Government Skills
response to the Welsh Affairs Committee letter to Karen Nimmo,
Alliance of Sector Skills Councils dated 21 April 2008.
2.1 Government Skills is the Sector Skills
Council for central government and the armed forces. This includes
all government departments, their executive agencies and Assembly
Government Sponsored Public Bodies (AGSPBs) and the armed forces.
This represents an overall footprint of 800,000 staff. In Wales
approximately 37,000 staff are employed in the sector. Government
Skills was licensed in February 2006.
2.2 The Skills Strategy for Government (Building
Professional Skills for GovernmentA strategy for delivery)
represents the Sector Skills Agreement and is an assessment of
skills needs and priorities within the sector. It identifies and
articulates the sector's current and further workforce needs so
that key stakeholders can take collaborative action to address
them. The Skills Strategy for Government is a three year strategy
which was approved by the Permanent Secretaries Management Group
(PSMG) in January 2008 and was formally launched on 1 April 2008.
3. FACTUAL INFORMATION
3.1 The Committee has requested written
evidence on the following issues:
Student recruitment and retention.
The way in which further and higher
education institutes engage with employers on both sides of the
3.2 As the Sector Skills Council for central
government, Government Skills has a UK wide remit with representation
in all four nations. In accordance with guidance from the Commission
for Employment and Skills (and formerly the Sector Skills Development
Agency), within Wales, action plans in order to support and implement
the Skill Strategy for government have been agreed with all five
partner organizations. The five partners (Welsh Assembly Government,
Careers Wales, JobCentre Plus, Wales TUC and the Higher Education
Funding Council for WalesHEFCW) approved the three year
action plans in February 2008.
3.3 The HEFCW action plan is in the early
stages of implementation and as such, at the current time it is
not possible for Government Skills to comment on any of the bullet
points in the Committee's letter. The skills strategy includes
a programme of engagement with the higher and further education
sectors. Our objective is to articulate government's future needs
as an employeras they relate to the future and current
3.4 As the Strategy is implemented and we
gain greater experience of working with higher and further education,
we should be better placed to answer some of the Committee's current
questions. We look forward to being able to help the Committee
further in future.
1. SkillsActive is the Sector Skills Council
(SSC) for Active Leisure and Learning, covering the sub-sectors
of sport and recreation, health and fitness, the outdoors, playwork
and camping and caravanning.
2. Like all SSCs, SkillsActive operates
across the UK and consults with employers to identify skills gaps
and shortages and other pertinent issues within the labour market.
Through UK-wide employer consultation, SkillsActive develops National
Occupational Standards (NOS) for key occupations to ensure that
appropriate qualifications and training are available to respond
to the needs that are identified by employers.
3. SkillsActive believes that Sector Skills
Agreements (SSA) provide the basis for a shared agenda between
a Sector Skills Council, its employers and providers in Wales.
Indeed SSCs can be the main route to ensure that the views of
employers can be expressed in a clear and co-ordinated way to
support the strategic development of both FE and HE in Wales.
4. SkillsActive concluded its SSA in Wales
at the end of 2006 and has subsequently developed a partnership
agreement with the Welsh Assembly Government and HEFCW which provides
the basis for an on-going relationship between the Sector and
Welsh providers of both further and higher education. Work is
underway in implementing these agreements and there is an emerging
partnership approach with individual institutions.
5. Active Leisure and Learning contributed
£8.6 billion in output to the UK economy in 2004growth
is double that of the UK economy over the last five years.
6. SkillsActive's five sub-sectors employed
660,000 in 2007 paid employees in over 36,500 organisations.
7. Employment growth had soared in the previous
five yearsalmost four times that of all UK industries.
8. The sector comprises of micro organisations
(73%) and SMEs, with less than 1% of employers employing over
9. Active Leisure and Learning is the largest
single sector for volunteering, accounting for 26% of the voluntary
10. The sector is expected to continue outperforming
the UK economy until 2014with output up to £11.9 billion.
11. Annual staff turnover is predicted to
be around 14%, which combined with growth in employment, will
result in at least 1 million job opportunities (paid) between
2004 and 2014.
12. There are 27,000 people employed within
the sector in Wales in around 2,100 organisations. This accounts
for around 4.6% of the UK total.
13. Wales has 8% more than its anticipated
share of employment in the sector compared to the UK as a whole.
14. 64% of Welsh employers employ less than
15. Employment is set to grow to around
30,000 by 2014.
16. Sector GVA is £400 millionthe
largest sector (sport and recreation) produces 50% of that total.
17. Almost 1 in 4 "establishments"
report a vacancy.
18. 45% of establishments with a vacancy
deemed them hard-to-fill.
19. 38% of organisations with a hard-to-fill
vacancy attributed it to a skills shortage reason.
20. 15% of employers report a skills gap
amongst their existing workforce.
21. Skills most commonly cited as being
in need of improvement are team working skills, customer handling
skills, technical and practical and communication skills. Management,
IT and Welsh language skills are also cited by a higher than average
proportion of employers.
22. Operational/duty managers/assistant
managers, play workers and coaches/fitness instructors/personal
trainers account for the largest proportion of skills gaps.
23. HESA destination data for Welsh HE courses
show 39 courses available in the sector in 2003-04 with 31 containing
a sport and recreation element, three health and fitness and 13
in the outdoors. There were no HE courses identified in Playwork
or the caravan sectors.
24. Approximately two thirds (64%) of leavers
from Welsh institutions are retained in employment in Wales with
one third (32%) working in England.
25. Over 1,200 learners were accepted into
Sport and Recreation HE courses in 2003-04, a 40% increase since
1999. Approximately two thirds (67%) of those entrants were male.
26. More learners studying Sport and Recreation
qualifications in Welsh HEIs come from England (50%) than Wales
27. Around two thirds (64%) of leavers from
Welsh institutions are retained in employment in Wales.
28. Approximately a third of Higher Education
leavers in SkillsActive related courses enter employment in the
29. Employers regularly report an oversupply
of graduates in areas such as sports science and sports development,
and that too many HE graduates lack essential vocational elements
and "employability skills".
30. Employers seek more of a balanced combination
between practical and academic modules.
31. Employers sometimes believe that graduates
have unrealistic employment expectations. Demand for coaching
qualifications in the UK has seen huge increases in take up over
the last five years.
32. Demand in other qualifications such
as Sport Development courses, Sport and Recreation Management,
Health and Fitness and Outdoors courses have also increased significantly
in the last five years.
34. SSCs are primarily concerned with ensuring
that their sectors have the skilled and qualified workforce that
they need to succeedin terms of business growth, productivity
or public service performance. A key focus for partnership with
providers of FE and HE is to ensure the supply of graduates with
these appropriate skills.
35. The transition from education to employment
is not always easy. As a Sector we would encourage increased vocational
content in academic programmes, based on the Sector's National
Occupational Standards (NOS).
36. We also recognise that not all HE provision
should be vocationally specific and it should be noted that already
only one-third of Welsh graduates end up in employment in the
Sector. People should be assisted to make an informed choice when
entering HE as to the courses with a clear vocational focusthe
Foundation Degree label is useful for this. "Graduate Apprenticeships"
have also found favour in our Sector, recognising that graduates
need support and development time in industry after graduation.
37. A second major area of partnership with
HE surrounds the capacity of HE to support the technical and scientific
research needed by sectors. For us this is more limited than in
other sectors such as engineering. However, sports and exercise
sciences and psychology underpin high performance in sport and
have enabled UWIC to play a lead role in the UK in the preparation
of elite athletes.
38. Our partnership with Higher Education
is also evident in Sector research. For example, we recently concluded
an investigation into employability skills gaps in the Sector
with UWIC, resulting in the publication of a training provider
database geared to meet the identified gaps.
39. There are concerns around funding that
need to be overcome, for example, a scenario can sometimes emerge
whereby a qualification attracts funding in England but not in
Wales (or to different levels). Therefore, there needs to be parity
in funding across borders and funding regimes need to be closely
aligned to sector needs.
40. It is both attractive and advantageous
for learners if qualifications and training have parity across
borders. The labour market is increasingly becoming more mobile
across the UK (and Europe), therefore, it is important to ensure
that acquired skills are transferable and have a common status.
The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) is the quality assurance
mechanism for the health and fitness industry. This provides a
framework within the health and fitness sector whereby career
progression routes can be mapped across the UK, Europe and on
a global level.
41. Employers often report that providers
of Further Education in Wales are provided with an allocation
of learning units at the start of an academic year and are usually
capped for growth and development. Therefore, this has resulted
in a situation where Further Education Institutions are not able
to offer flexible approaches to respond to the needs of employers.
42. Wales often has unique training opportunities
for which we would be keen to ensure that there is suitable provision
offered to students across the UK, for example, the outdoor sector
within the Snowdonia National Park area (NW Wales). Focussing
upon this example, a situation has emerged where local people
are under-represented within the industry. Therefore, SkillsActive
has worked with a range of stakeholders in an attempt to develop
initiatives that will attract local people into the outdoor sector.
43. SkillsActive can provide labour market
information, intelligence and skills forecasts for the sector.
This data should be shared with both further and higher education
institutions across Wales to inform the content of relevant curricula.
SkillsActive has recently worked in partnership with the University
of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC) to identify the specific skills
that underpin reported `employability skills' shortages in the
areas of team working, customer handling, communication, problem
solving and management skills, and specific findings should be
used to inform curriculum development or the content of various
programmes. This data covers the whole UK and we see no reason
why Welsh HEIs should not provide for the wider UK sector market.
Our analysis will help this be effective.
44. As the standard setting body for the
industry, SkillsActive develops, reviews and maintains a set of
effective and accessible national occupational standards for the
active leisure and learning sector, and has developed frameworks
for foundation degrees, modern apprenticeships and work based
learning, all of which can be shared with Wales' education institutions
who wish to take account of vocational requirements.
45. SkillsActive is also building upon the
Sector Skills Agreement by developing a Sector Qualification Strategy
(SQS) in consultation with partners across Wales. The overall
aim of the SQS is to establish a coherent framework of education
and training to meet the needs of the active leisure and learning
sectorto address the skills requirements of the sector.
The SQS will determine the basis of our approval of qualifications
and credits onto the emerging Qualification and Credit Framework
(in England). However, SSCs will require a consistent level of
influence over what is included upon the relevant frameworks across
England and Wales.
46. The development of Foundation Degrees
is seen as a way of delivering a vocational focus and as a sector
we would support their development in Wales. These can be delivered
flexibly, allowing study alongside employment and are particularly
attractive for those seeking access to HE later in their career,
supporting their development into managerial positions. Skills
That Work For Wales (WAG Skills Strategy) recognises the value
of foundation degrees in meeting business needs for higher level
qualifications that balance academic study with workplace relevance.
We are supportive of the notion that Wales HEIs are free to develop
foundation degrees (including through franchise arrangements with
FEIs) although understand the WAG view that this should not be
at the expense of other provision such as HNCs or HNDs where those
courses may have strong employer recognition.
47. We would expect Further Education colleges
to serve a more local market whilst drawing on provision that
meets National (Sector) Standards. In particular, providing for
the up-skilling of the existing workforce through flexible and
work- based delivery to support more local employment market priorities.
We would encourage partnerships between FE and HE in delivery
so higher level skills can be developed as part of the flexible
FE offer and in turn so that the vocational expertise of FE can
be harnessed by HEIs to increase the vocational relevance of courses
as seen in the development of Foundation Degrees especially in
48. SkillsActive are very keen to work in
partnership with Wales' providers of both further and higher education
institutions in an attempt to address the concept of employability
within the active leisure and learning sector, and to have a positive
impact upon the skills and productivity challenges that exist
49. We see no reason why HE provision in
Wales should not also serve the UK market. Quality is the key.
Use of the Sector national occupations as the basis for course
design can ensure UK wide industry applicability. We would be
willing to advise on market issues when new provision is contemplated
to avoid over-supply.
50. FE provision should have a more local
priority focus, working within the national credit and qualification
provision which will be matched by the SSC against their national
51. Employers need to understand provision.
They would welcome consistency and simplicity in funding and qualification
frameworks. SSCs can help develop this understanding in their
Sectors with employers and establishing a clear relationship back
to the Sector's standards can support this. SSCs can provide UK
currency for the skills system.
2 Funding on post-16 learning per head of the population
in Wales is around 5.45% compared with 5.85% England. ibid, p
Post-16 capital expenditure per head of the population in Wales
is around £4.20 compared with £9.95 in England, £16.50
in Northern Ireland and £14 in Scotland. ibid, p 102 Back
See: http://188.8.131.52/The_Funding_Gap_2005_06.pdf Back
Page 7 Paragraph 1.9 Footnote 8 Dearden, L, Reed, H and Van Reened,
J (2000) Who Gains when Workers train? Training and Corporate
Productivity in a Panel of British Industries, IFS Working Paper
No 00/04. Back
The Train to Gain offer-a skills brokerage service available at
present in England- is not sector specific. Skillset is working
with Train to Gain brokers to provide a more sector-relevant offer
through the general service which will be more welcome amongst
our industries. Back