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Skills Update

Leitch reports on his review of UK skills

2006 ended on a positive note for Sector Skills Councils (SSC) with the publication of Lord Leitch’s report into the state of UK skills. Its recommendations could pave the way for employers, aided by their SSCs, to gain real influence over the education and skills system.

The report was commissioned by the Government to look at the current skills in the UK and to make recommendations about the skills levels required to make the UK a high performing economy, able to compete in an increasingly competitive global market.

The high level recommendations in Lord Leitch’s report, to be achieved by 2020, include:


95% of working age adults to achieve functional literacy and numeracy - up from 85% literacy and 80% numeracy today.


More than 90% of workforce adults to be qualified to at least Level 2 where feasible - up from 70% today.


Shifting the focus on intermediate skills from Level 2 to Level 3.


More than 40% of the adult population qualified to Level 4 and above, accelerating the increase of people with high-level skills, up from 29% today.


Double the number of apprenticeships UK-wide to 500,000.

The recommendations cover factors such as education and training providers, funding, existing qualification structures, access to advice and new initiatives such as Train to Gain.

The report further endorsed the sector-based approach to skills delivery that was established with the formation of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) in 2002. This means construction employers, through ConstructionSkills as the Sector Skills Council for the industry, will have even more say over the development of fit-for-purpose qualifications and decisions over the funding of education and training.

Sir Michael Latham, Chairman of ConstructionSkills, said:
"ConstructionSkills is delighted that Lord Leitch has recognised that giving employers a powerful voice to influence skills training provision is the best way to ensure that the construction industry gets the 'fit for purpose' training and skills development that it needs.

As a leading Sector Skills Council, ConstructionSkills has played a key role in the development of innovative training solutions like the National Skills Academy for Construction, which has been led by employers and backed by Government. Initiatives like these challenge conventional thinking about skills delivery and provide on-site learning for entire project teams so that employers can be sure that new, experienced and future employees are competent and qualified to the standard industry requires.

Employers are prepared to engage more with skills development if the system is more relevant to their needs and ConstructionSkills is looking forward to playing a key role in brokering these deals in the future."

It is expected that the Government’s response to the recommendations will be reported alongside the Comprehensive Spending Review scheduled for October 2007. In the interim ConstructionSkills has received feedback on the review through its Area Advisory Committees as well as via individual employers.

Val Lowman of Bovis Lend Lease, said:
"Bovis Lend Lease welcomes Lord Leitch's report. Employer-led training is something Bovis has been championing for many years now and we believe this demand led approach is the only way to secure the future growth of our industry. We have been working closely with ConstructionSkills, to develop the National Skills Academy for Construction network which truly recognises this approach. The first Academy site

was launched at the end of 2006 and we look forward to being involved in the national roll-out.”

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and discover how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update

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