CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Billions wasted on ineffective skills strategy
Much of the UK Government’s multi-billion pound investment in the working population’s skills level is being wasted, according to a policy paper published today by leading welfare-to-work provider WorkDirections. The Learning and Skills Council costs the British taxpayer close to £7 billion per year, but much of that figure is having little or no effect on the overall level of skills among those in entry-level jobs, despite evidence that adults with poor basic skills are up to five times more likely to be unemployed than those with average skill levels.
The report, Skills and Sustainable Welfare-to-Work, identifies a number of problems with the Government’s current approach to solving the puzzle of long-term unemployment, including an increasing number of people “cycling” between welfare and work – and a growing bill for incapacity benefits. The Government has a target of ensuring 80 per cent of the working age population are in work by 2025 – at the current rate of unemployment, this means an additional 1.4 million people, many of whom will have no qualifications, finding sustainable jobs.
The report makes clear that dividing responsibilities for jobs and skills between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) makes it unlikely the Government will achieve its target. Richard Johnson, Chief Executive of WorkDirections, said: “Keeping people in training and out-of work keeps them excluded from society, and often slipping further away with every passing day. On the other hand, simply putting someone in a job without any attempt to assist them to progress to better paid jobs in the future, may offer as limited and potentially disadvantaged a future.”
Skills and Sustainable Welfare-to-Work argues that the Government needs to link up its approach to skills with its approach to employment - at the moment the DWP tackles employment issues while the DfES manages the skills agenda. It calls for far closer collaboration between the DfES, DWP, Jobcentre Plus, the Learning and Skills Council, Business Link and the Sector Skills Councils. Johnson said: “If education, employment, and health too, are viewed in isolation, then the funding and delivery of these services can actually pull in conflicting directions.”
For further information or a full copy of the report call Gidon Freeman at Lexington Communications on 020 7395 8946