Tackling growing skills shortages is key to sustaining the recovery, says AELP

Speaking at its recent autumn conference in Birmingham, leaders of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) set out a number of recommendations that would support employers and individuals get the skills they need to enter work and to progress in their careers.

The government must continue to provide the investment for people that do not have the right skills to enter employment and ensure that everyone, regardless of age, reaches a minimum level of skill which includes support for functional skills in English and maths.  Programmes for the unemployed should focus on early intervention and personalised delivery.

To help employers struggling with skills shortages, AELP is also calling for the government to carry on backing the upskilling of adults already in work through the apprenticeship programme.  The call comes only days after the party conferences saw the two main party leaders commit to a massive expansion of Apprenticeships during the next Parliament.  In AELP’s view, their goals can only be achieved if Apprenticeships are offered across all ages, all sectors and at all levels.

The AELP manifesto adds that adults must have access to better information about the labour market and the training options which respond directly to local skills needs.

For young people, AELP welcomes the pledges made about growing apprenticeships but there is also an urgent need to build the credibility of Traineeships by increasing the access to the programme and increasing the flexibility of delivery.  Providers argue that programmes for young people not in work or on an apprenticeship should focus on high quality work related learning and work experience.

As there are a large number of programmes and initiatives for young people under the current government, AELP wants to see more programme integration and it says in its manifesto that all programmes for young people should place emphasis on employability skills and work experience as well as functional English and maths.  These are already embedded within Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

AELP CEO Stewart Segal said: “Training providers will be encouraged that party leaders have placed Apprenticeships among their highest priorities for the next Parliament and I believe that growing the programme will not just make a big difference to people’s careers but will also make a significant contribution to answering employers’ skills needs as the economy continues to recover.

“However we have shown in AELP’s updated manifesto that other actions are also required to maximise the return and effectiveness of government investment in training in order to underpin a sustainable economic recovery and strengthen social inclusion.”