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Improving staff's basic skills

Summer 2007

Getting the right skills is essential if any organisation is to compete and succeed.

Overall reactions to the Chancellor's latest Budget have been decidedly mixed, yet one thing that most business organisations agree on is that allowances for small companies who take on employees needing to acquire the most basic of skills are to be welcomed.

The reason for this is simply that a lack of basic skills in the workplace can cost employers money, and this is nowhere more evident than within small firms where development and growth is highly dependent on productivity.

The basic skills allowance announced in the Budget will be £2,000, and in some cases £3,000, per employee from now until 2011. Applications for basic skills allowances – which include help for improving literacy, numeracy and basic IT skills – can be made via your local Train to Gain office – a new service launched across England by the Learning and Skills Council.

Train to Gain is a brokerage service that aims to help businesses improve their productivity and competitiveness by ensuring that staff have the right skills to do the best job. It provides a free, independent and impartial assessment to help you identify what skills your business needs, arrange training and provide information about sources of funding.

A large body of research indicates that training is likely to increase profitability, reduce staff turnover rates, and increase motivation and organisational commitment.

Hilton Sharp & Clarke