Expert view: Businesses take control of skills

Amanda Melton, principal and chief executive of Nelson and Colne College, talks about better developing Lancashire's talent to meet employer needs.

Amanda Melton Nelson CollegeI have met a large number of employers from small and medium sized companies in the last few weeks to get a sense of the collective challenges they face in relation to skills and training.

The messages each time are similar: the skills within the businesses are increasingly held by older employees, and the skills drain due to retirement or promotion elsewhere is a considerable issue; access to funding for training is confused and not driven by employer need; young people do not have the essential skills and attitude to meet your skills shortage.

There are plenty of other skill challenges to address to enable business to grow and become more efficient, but it seems that there are at last moves afoot to turn the issue on its head and place employer need at the centre of planning for skills development and funding.

I have had the pleasure to work with a consortium of employers recently on a bid to direct funding specifically to address their collective skills shortages.

The simplicity of the new formula will abandon the complexity of identifying approved qualifications which are the best of a bad job in matching training needs.

Instead, it will direct funding at skill development which promotes growth, drives efficiency, and which prepares out region to compete on the world stage through targeted skills development.

I am excited by the prospect of coupling our collaborative work with employers to overhaul skill development, with the traditional college activity in preparing young people for jobs, apprenticeships and higher education.

Creating a talent pool which has a better understanding of the requirements of the job market is an incredibly powerful opportunity. Amanda Melton Principal and chief executive Nelson and Colne College