Kent Companies Want To Shape The Delivery Of Skills And Training

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Local Skills Improvement Plan
by Paul Brooks

More than four in 10 of Kent businesses want to advise on the skills and training curriculum being delivered by Further Education colleges across the county, according to a skills-focused survey of Kent companies.

Undertaken on behalf of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to help develop a Local Skills Improvement Programme (LSIP), the survey highlights that business leaders recognise the importance of training, especially for the county’s young people.

More than four in 10 (41.7%) respondents would consider advising on the curriculum to help influence the training provided; 39.1% would even help with teaching of students aged 18+ years, and 38.6% would consider hosting student visits.

Jo James OBE, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber, said: “The survey findings will be shared with our Further Education partners and other business representatives.

“Businesses understand the importance of developing and retaining a skilled workforce in order to ensure companies are productive. It is great to see them eager to play a more involved role in influencing the local delivery of skills and training.”

Almost six in every 10 (58.4%) of the businesses surveyed said they would consider mentoring young people, and half (51%) would consider offering work experience placements.

The survey also sought to examine how training was delivered. It found that more than half (55.8%) of respondents would like to access short courses for their employees as a way of boosting productivity. However, more needs to be done by training providers to inform businesses of the training opportunities on offer, with 30% of respondents reporting they were unsure about the quality and suitability of what’s available.

Jo James added: “The findings will shape our evidence-based plan which will be submitted to Government to improve the skills landscape and offering in Kent, as well as the national skills improvement programme.”

The survey also identified the biggest barriers to training and developing the skills of their workforce. Nearly one third (32.7%) of respondents felt they couldn’t afford to release staff, with the financial cost of training identified by 31.2% of the businesses involved in the project.

While 35.5% of respondents believe there is no barrier to training, more than one in five of respondents (23.1%) don’t have the management capacity to plan the training.

More than 1,200 Kent companies actively participated, including telephone interviews with 667 business leaders to get their views on the day-to-day skills issues being experienced across the county.

The Local Skills Improvement Plan will be published later this month and for further information on the LSIP visit