Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What rationale for Sector Skills Councils?


Past experience, recent events and comments from folks working in economic development and regeneration lead me to think about Sector Skills Councils.

Are they misconceived as a concept or delivery model?

Several things would lead me to believe so:

  • Skills and competencies tend to be occupationally specific - related to the type of work, more than the sector the workers are operating in.
  • For example, lots of sectors employ accountants. Would it make sense for each industry to provide skills policies and training for its own bunch of accountants? probably not.
  • There could be a case for highly specific engineering skills. But then again, when it gets to specifics - aren't the businesses or employers themselves best placed to assess the training needs and help the employee get the training? Aren't the public sector bods best providing the generic skillsets or graduates etc with the raw ability to do the specialised jobs, with the employing organisation sorting out very specialised training?
  • There are some industries who do employ large proportions of workers with certain skills, but I still think that an industry/sector specific focus is somewhat flawed.
  • Most FE colleges and careers services think about occupational pathways rather than sectors. They do this for a reason - because they guide people into job types where they may access broad or detailed occupational specialisms.

This seems to be reflected, to me, in the constantly shifting sector footprints of the SSCs themselves, and the complicated exercise of licencing and delivering sector skills agreements. They have to cover such a diverse range of skills that overlap with everything else, they shift and expand - will they eventually have lots of overlap? probably so.

Are the SSCs doomed to failure? interesting to see what happens in the next 24 months.


At 1:41 pm, Blogger James said...

Some colleges do focus on sectors. I;m thinking particularly about the Thames Gateway developments which have 'forced' colleges to concentrate on developing skills for the construction sector.

At 3:00 pm, Blogger Blimpish said...

Unfortunately, they're misconceived as both a concept and a delivery model.

In terms of delivery model, the real problem they have is that all the programme money is held by the LSC, which isn't keen to share power with SSCs.


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