Learning and Skills Network
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LSN’s response to Skills For Growth

LSN responds to the Government’s new National Skills Strategy as set out in its white paper Skills for Growth...

LSN welcomes many of the aims of the Government’s new National Skills Strategy as set out in its white paper Skills for Growth.

We applaud its promise of greater freedom for colleges and other training institutions demonstrating teaching excellence. We also welcome the importance it places on advanced vocational skills, with the expansion of advanced apprenticeships and stronger progression routes from apprenticeships into higher education.
In particular LSN supports the strategy’s move towards a system defined not simply by targets but real world outcomes with real market value. We have been concerned about the distorting effect of the qualifications paper chase – ultimately it’s skills that matter and it’s the balance between supply and demand at local level that actually makes the difference.
But we are concerned that chasing national high level targets - such as the Skills Strategy’s aim of 75 per cent in higher education or completing an advanced apprenticeship or equivalent by 30 - would lead to an overqualified and inappropriately skilled workforce. Recent research suggests that jobs growth occurs across the whole skills spectrum, not just at higher qualification levels.
The strategy’s pledge to cut through the clutter and simplify the learning and skills landscape is also welcome. However, while we accept the recommendation of removing 30 quangos, reducing the number of bodies without a root and branch review of the complexity of the system could actually make things worse.
Another proposal set out in the white paper is the introduction of Skill Accounts for every learner. LSN believes these must be introduced with great care. Aside from the lessons learned from Individual Learning Accounts a decade ago, Skill Accounts bring with them an additional layer of bureaucracy, which could deter learners rather than attracting them.
John Stone,
Chief Executive of LSN
More information about LSN's recommendation on national skills policy can be found inthe latest report from the Centre for Innovation in Learning Beyond Leitch; skill s policy in the upturn. Download this report.

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