engage magazine issue 007/\'08 - Page 19

OPINION 19 Skills for Business Skills SME Skills Revisiting the Leitch Review of and the In 2004, the Government commissioned Sandy Leitch to undertake an independent review of the UK’s long term skills needs. The Review published its interim report “Skills in the UK: the long term challenge” in December 2005. It committed the Review, in its final report, to identify the UK’s skills mix for 2020 to maximise economic growth, productivity and social justice. It also set out the balance of responsibility for achieving that skills profile and considered the policy framework required to support it. Dr Kemal Ahson T he final report of the Leitch Review of Skills, ‘Prosperity for all in the global economy - world class skills’, was published on 5th December 2006. It set out a vision for the UK, not least in terms of how all levels of skills needed to be raised. Put simply, the UK needs to double attainment at most levels of skill. Understandably, the responsibility for achieving such targets is shared by a number of stakeholders and small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) play a central role in this. In fact, one of the main planks of the strategy is to train eligible employees up to level 2 standards (the equivalent of five good GCSEs). The context for this is simple: every day, 1.3 million people go to work without the skills they need to do their jobs well. As part of the support package for businesses, the Train to Gain programme was launched. It provides employers with impartial, independent advice on training needs. The Train to Gain programme is marketed as a joint investment between employers and the Government working The aims and methodology appear to be appropriate for meeting the UK’s skills needs, but some people remain sceptical about the programme. For instance, during the early part of the programme it was down by 70% of its targets of engaging with employees and employers. The fact this target was missed was recognised and increased investment has been channelled into delive