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Home > News > July 2006 > 26 July 2006

UK could learn skills lessons from abroad, says report

The UK's approach to skills development could learn from abroad, says a new report published yesterday by the Sector Skills Development Agency. In particular the report says that The Netherlands and New Zealand are places that the UK may want to learn from.

The Skills Abroad report by Dr Johnny Sung, Dr Arwen Raddon and Professor David Ashton of the Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester, urges the UK to learn from the approaches of other countries to improve the effectiveness of vocational and skills-based training.

Several countries, including the UK, have in recent years developed sector-based approaches to raising employer demand for skills. The report findings conclude that the UK could go further in establishing an employer-led system of skills development and the way to do this - in the light of best practice abroad - is for employers to be even more at the centre of education and skills policy, with support from employees.

Mark Fisher, chief executive of the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), which supports the network of Sector Skills Councils said: "Research into overseas skills development has shown the importance of employer involvement in every step of the process. The UK needs to take heed and follow suit in order to meet our changing skill needs in the light of fierce international competition.

"This can be seen in the Netherlands and New Zealand, which have effective systems, where employer-led skills councils have a strong influence over funding and training programmes, and have the backing of unions and other organisations that represent employees."

'Skills Abroad: A Comparative Assessment of International Policy Approaches to Skills Leading to the Development of Policy Recommendations for the UK' is Report 16 in the SSDA's Research Series.

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