Hospitality and tourism sector skills council People 1st has welcomed Lord Leitch's final report about the UK's long-term skills needs, which was published yesterday.
The report recommends the creation of a new Commission for Employment and Skills to increase employer engagement and investment in skills, and reforming Sector Skills Councils to simplify and approve vocational training.
People 1st council member, Peter Darnell, managing director of the Chartridge Conference Company, welcomed Leitch's suggestions. "It is vital that People 1st is given a lead role in determining where funding is directed so that employers feel that it is worthwhile increasing their own investment in an increasingly effective skills agenda," he said.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, agreed: "Industry must have more say in the way that the £600m of public expenditure in tourism skills is directed so that employers feel it is worthwhile investing their time and resources in a skills agenda to benefit the whole industry."
Other recommendations of Lord Leitch's report include that employers be made to sign up to a pledge to voluntarily train more staff. If insufficient progress has been made by 2010, a statutory right for employees to access workplace training would be introduced.
The report sets out ambitious goals for 2020 which, if achieved, would make the UK a world leader in skills. The prize for achieving this would be an estimated £80b over 30 years.
He warned that if skills levels are not increased, the UK will condemn itself to a lingering decline in competitiveness, diminishing economic growth and a bleaker future for all.
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn