By Daniel Hunter

In response to the announcement by the Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, over the government’s Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills, the Forum’s Head of Policy, Alex Jackman has welcomed the new strategy.

"We welcome the government’s new skills strategy, particularly their focus on cementing the contribution of employers through the funding system and through access to data," he said.

"Employers know what training is best for their employees and should not be constrained by poor local provision or inflated costs.

“No one can dispute the need for rigour and responsiveness in our skills system. It is encouraging that the departments will be contributing to the Single Local Growth Fund to create strong local skills systems. The need for adequate SME representation and engagement with LEPs is more important than ever to ensure local provision is suited to employer needs.

“We also welcome the government’s continued commitment to improving basic skills across the UK. It should not fall on employers to provide basic skills training for their staff. The new Traineeship programme is a promising development to tackle the dual issue employers are faced when taking on young people; a lack of basic skills and weak employability skills.

“As the details of the Traineeship programme are advanced it’s vital the SME voice is heard to ensure the programme is suitable to the vast majority of employers in the UK.

“The government’s proposals set out in Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills clearly demonstrate the central position of employers in ensuring the skills system is delivering the right types of skills to enable businesses to grow. As 99% of businesses in the UK are small it is essential that the government continues to engage regularly with SMEs as they seek to implement this new skills strategy.”

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