More needs to be done to improve basic skills, employers told

Mar 07 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Employers need to look more seriously at improving the skills of workers who are not highly qualified, but whose contribution is nonetheless crucial to workplace success, a report has suggested.

The report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said successful companies need higher levels of basic skills in their whole workforce than ever before.

The study, Basic Skills in the Workplace - opening doors to learning, found offering workers training in basic maths, reading and writing could reap significant benefits.

Organisations that wanted to gain a competitive edge should provide more training support to lower-skilled workers, given that they often received less training than their senior colleagues.

Last month, a survey of 6,000 businesses by the British Chambers of Commerce found that 43 per cent of employers reported difficulties finding staff with basic skills, compared with 29 per cent in 1994.

However business leaders blame government policies on education and training Ė particularly the lack of a proper system of vocational education - for the UKís continuing productivity gap.

Victoria Gill, CIPD adviser on training and development, said: ďAs the UK economy continues to enjoy a period of near full employment, the need to invest heavily in promoting learning remains as important as ever.

"But while there is undoubted evidence that UK organisations have the will and commitment to invest in training, it is also clear that this needs to be targeted more widely and wisely,Ē she added.