TUC warns on training

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 February 2000




(2000), "TUC warns on training", Education + Training, Vol. 42 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/et.2000.00442aab.008



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

TUC warns on training

TUC warns on training

Keywords: Training, United Kingdom, Skills gap

The UK has more poorly-qualified employees and fewer young people in training than most of its European competitors, says a new report from the Trades Union Congress. Britain's Skills Gap shows that the decline of collective bargaining in the UK has reduced trade-union influence over training and job stability. Mistrust and insecurity have risen, reducing both work commitment and the economic benefits of training.

The report suggests that the more regulated labour markets and high levels of collective bargaining in most continental countries provide more positive support for training. In the mid-1990s:

  • across Europe, between 40 and 45 per cent of people aged 20 to 24 were in education or training, compared with 24 per cent in the UK;

  • 40 per cent of adults aged 25 to 59 in work in the UK had left school at 16, compared with 32 per cent in France and only 13 per cent in Germany;

  • in France and Germany, between 60 and 65 per cent of the population had qualifications equivalent to NVQ level 2 or above, compared with only 40 per cent in the UK.

The report suggests that lack of skills reduces business efficiency and competitiveness and contributes to the 20-25 per cent workplace productivity gap between the UK and countries such as France and Germany. The report concludes that reliance on market forces, the goodwill of employers and the hope that individual employees will take responsibility for their own training will not deliver the investment in skills needed by the economy as a whole. Instead, a statutory framework is needed, setting down clear obligations and fiscal incentives for employers to provide both vocational training and lifelong learning, including a right to paid educational leave.

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