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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 16:17 GMT
Firms 'must train or face fines'
Most employees value extra training, the survey says
Most people in Britain agree that employers who do not train their workers properly should be fined by the government, a survey suggests.

Some 59% think companies cannot be relied upon to take responsibility for improving skills, the Association of Colleges says.

Of the 2,045 people interviewed in England, Wales and Scotland, 74% were in favour of fines.

But the CBI said it was schools and colleges which were often at fault.

'Lack of trust'

A spokesman added: "Employers take the training of staff extremely seriously and spend 23.5bn a year on this, much of it to make up for failings in the education system."

However, the AoC's chief executive, John Brennan, said: "People do not trust their employer to improve their skills."

Some 63% of those interviewed felt they needed to upgrade their skills in the next few years to protect their income levels and prospects.

The AoC argues that an increasing focus on skills training for 14 to 19 year olds means its member colleges are having to divert resources from teaching adults.

Dr Brennan said: "These figures show that the public has got the message about the importance of improving their skill set.

"For us it is a matter of great concern that at the same time expectations are rising, the government's funding policy is failing to meet that demand."

A Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman said: "Training is vital to both individuals, their employers and the economy.

"This government takes training seriously, which is why we have introduced our Skills Strategy to incentivise employers to offer the training they need for business success."

A survey of 72,100 employers in England this year found more than one in 10 workers were incompetent at their jobs.


A fifth of job vacancies were unfilled due to skill shortages, and business was being lost to competitors, according to the Learning and Skills Council.

Responding to the CBI's comments, the council said it already had a number of schemes that enabled employers to provide basic training at no cost to themselves.

It would "strongly refute" the idea that schools and colleges were to blame.

It was committed to fostering sustainable links between business and education and had invested 16m in a business/school mentoring programme.

The AoC's annual conference, in Birmingham, runs from Monday until Thursday.

The CBI's director general, Digby Jones, is due to address delegates on Wednesday.

Basic skills 'employers' guarantee'
18 Oct 04 |  Education
Mixing study at school and college
15 Oct 04 |  Education
One in 10 workers 'incompetent'
03 Feb 04 |  Education

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