Government called upon to consult business leaders on skills issues

Owners of smaller businesses are unhappy with the Government's approach to training employees, according to new research.

Owners of smaller businesses are unhappy with the Government's approach to training employees, according to new research.

And its skills initiatives are a particular problem, said the Forum of Private Business research.

FPB chief executive Nick Goulding is concerned that the needs of the small business community are overlooked by the Government.

He said: "The Skills for Business network is funded to the tune of £59m, yet our survey found only 13% of small business owners felt this was an appropriate method for skills provision."

The Government's approach to training was not the only problem identified by the study.

Of more than 100 businesses surveyed, many perceived a lack of basic skills in school leavers, with over 80% of respondents rating literacy and numeracy of school leavers as average or below average.

Further education colleges were also unpopular with over 60% of respondents saying they did not provide for the training demands of their businesses.

Mr Goulding urged Government to open up a dialogue before investing tax-payers' money on ineffective training schemes, saying: "Smaller businesses must be consulted in devising skills initiatives.

"Sector Skills Councils have been hailed as an employer-led provider of training but, in reality, they are off the mark in providing smaller businesses with the help they need.

"More consultation with business owners will lead to more useful and dynamic skills initiatives."

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer