Skills Matter! I like to start these things with a relatively uncontroversial statement to get folks on my side! Hopefully your attendance here to day means that this is not a new message Investment in skills is a key driver of economic success and we use qualification levels as our proxy measure for skills - not a perfect proxy, especially in the past when qualifications were regarded as cumbersome and limited in scope, but as we move towards a modularised qualifications system, where even very small amounts of training can lead to formal recognition, it is still the best way we have of measuring skills and improvements in skills levels
The Department will shortly respond to the Consultation on the new draft Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland which contained a number of proposed strategic targets. Some of you will be familiar with the figures on the screen now which represent how we would like the skills profile of our workforce to look in 2020. This is all very well – as I have said, expressing a wish for a higher skilled workforce is not exactly new or controversial. It featured in every political parties manifesto for the recent elections, which in Northern Ireland, I’m sure you will agree, is no mean feat! But sometimes looking at a task in terms of percentages can disguise the practical implications of setting targets like these. Applying these targets to today’s workforce paints a sobering picture of what lies ahead if we are to be successful
This is our headline figure – the total number of qualifications from levels 2 and upwards that we, as an economy, need to deliver to hit our targets And sure, it seems like a big number but we have until 2020 right? Plenty of time! Well, not so fast! The targets are based on a starting point in 2008, and if we assume a steady rate of progress since then, right up to 2020….
Per working day
One every 2 minutes and 51 seconds
For every Hour
Of every day
Of every Year
Until 2020 So we have our work cut out!
So what are DEL doing about it? The short answer is – quite a lot. There are plenty of ways to access publicly funded training provision through the programmes on offer from this Department And hopefully you will recognise some or all of the programmes and products listed on the screen now.
We’ve listened to the views of employers and have identified a number of common themes that have come out for us to consider when looking at ways to improve our service to employers. General message of confusion, information overload all throwing up significant barriers to taking up what is on offer
The main thing I want to do today is highlight the Skills Solutions Service. This is a new service introduced last year which aims to make it easier for employers to access the range of provision that is available. As an aside, when we were considering what to call this new team, the name ‘Skills Advisory Service, was mooted – but knowing how the Civil Service loves its abbreviations, we didn’t feel that being known as the SAS would endear us to all sides or indeed any sides of the local business community. Likewise we considered simply going with the ‘Skills Service’ but we didn’t feel that badging ourselves with the letters ‘SS’ would be any great improvement. So Skills Solutions Service it is! As I have said, we want to make it easier for employers to access the range of provision that is available. We hope to do this by providing a simple entry point backed up by in-depth knowledge of the entirety of our offering that will help you as an employer, learn more about what is available and how it can impact on your business , and then actually access the help on offer. Three main services offered directly by this team:
The first thing that the Skills Solutions Service can offer is the advisory role I have already mentioned. The Skills Strategy sets out the Department’s wish to develop a demand led skills system, whereby the needs of employers and learners dictate what sort of training is on offer. For this to have any effect, we have to make it easy to access the programmes that are in place. My colleagues in the Skills Solutions Service can help with this. We’re designed to be a first point of contact, to help employer navigate their way to the best solution for their skills needs. So that’s the first thing we can offer – we also are responsible for the direct delivery of two flexible and demand led training interventions and I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you more about those also.
Bridge to Employment has been around for about 13 years now and its demand led – customized training model is in the inspiration for the whole Skills Solutions Service Some of the benefits that a company can get from the programme are on the screen now. The key point I would like to emphasise is this – Bridge to Employment takes the risk or hiring new staff away from a company and puts in on to us as a Department. Employer are not normally required to make a financial contribution AND are not required to hire anyone. The only guarantee that trainees get is that if they complete the training, they will be given a job interview – after that they are on their own! That said, we can run the programme this way because we are so confident that the training provided will prepare those individuals well enough as to impress at interview. Last year over 90% of our trainees were offered jobs with the client company.
designed for situations where the existing programmes we have won’t meet the needs of your company Fund units or more – small bite sized chunks – ensure that it can be delivered quickly and with minimal impact on the day to day business and that learners get some recognition for what they have studied. Content is for you to decide – if your business needs Customer Service that's what we’ll deliver, if it’s lean manufacturing, then that’s what we’ll deliver. It’s a genuinely demand led programme. This would be a very good time for me to highlight the role that other partners can play in making both the Skill Solutions Service and Customized Training Programme in particular, as success. We do not claim to be experts in every industry – that would be a tall boast, even for Government! Bodies like Sector Skills Councils can bring a sharp focus on the needs and priorities of your industry and can advise on what the best training options might be. This approach has already worked well for us in the past and I look forward to it doing so again.
The Further Education Sector, as I have already indicated, is the preferred provider for much of the customized training that we offer and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those college representatives here today for the part they have played in getting this new programme off the ground to date and for the way that they have engaged with the service. We are extremely keen to continue to work with partners on delivery to improve access to the what we do. We will never have enough bodies to get the sort of penetration of the business community that we would wish for and we’re very aware of the good work going on in this field already. It would be my hope that we can build on that to work towards the common objectives that we have. You can see on the screen some employees of Dunbia, who complete training in Business Improvement Techniques last year. This training allowed them to make decisions, analyse what they are doing, make improvements, embrace change and take ownership of projects" What business would not want this kind of benefit for their staff?
I hope that you have found this presentation informative and that you have a better understanding of what is on offer from DEL, or at the very least how you can quickly and simply find out more about what is on offer! If you would like to speak to a member of the Skills Solutions team, you can find on on the DEL website or by phoning the number on the screen now. We also have staff here today who will be only too happy to yelp you and you can find us in the exhibition area over lunch Thank you very much
Colin woods-skills-conference (1)
Head of Skills Delivery Branch
Department for Employment and Learning
So what are DEL doing to
increase skills levels?
Wide range of funded training opportunities
Management and Leadership Training
under the “Made not Born” Banner
Training 4 Success
Bridge to Employment
Steps to Work
Higher Education both at University and
Further Education Provision
Careers Information, Advice and Guidance
Lots on Offer……BUT!
“Too many Products and Programmes” – hard to keep
track of them all
“Hard to Access” – who do I phone?
“How do I know which one is right for my business?”
“How do I apply for the ones I want?”
The Skills Solutions Service
Single Point of Contact for
Employers wanting to know about
DEL Skills Provision
Team of Trained staff available to
respond to queries about what is on
offer and help you access it
Advisers with dedicated
responsibility for geographical areas
Information and Advice on the DEL
Trained staff with a business focused approach
Knowledge of the DEL Programmes available
Advice on how they can be used and how to apply
Assistance with applications or with finding the right
person to talk to
Bridge to Employment
Pre-employment Training for new staff
Training programme built around the job description
for the vacancy to be filled
Help with advertising, recruitment and selection of
candidates who are currently unemployed
Training programme delivered in house or by third
party, like the local FE College
Employer Commitment – to interview those trainees
who complete the training
Usually free of charge to the employer
Programmes for current staff
Funding available for units or
more of accredited
qualifications at Level 2 or
Content built around the
Customized Training (cont.)
Variable rates of funding
depending on the size of
the company and the
qualifications already held
by the learner
Colleges are the primary
provider of our training
How to get in Touch?
On the web: www.delni.gov.uk
By Phone: 028 9090 5251
In Person: in the exhibition area at this Conference