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Monday, August 12, 2013

Acua welcomes CBI report on higher skills

A provider of work-based learning has welcomed a CBI report calling for urgent action to bridge the skills gap in the UK.

Jeannine Mortlock, managing director of Acua Solutions Limited, which is part of Coventry University, supports the findings of the 'Tomorrow's Growth: New routes to higher skills' report that the UK will fail to close its "chronic skills gap" without advanced 'learn as you earn' training and more business-designed degrees.

She said: "There is a real opportunity and need for the government and employers to jointly come to the table to invest in the future development of our young talent as our economy is going to depend on it.

"Where an employer enables employee development, through higher apprenticeships or degrees in the workplace, there is a knock-on effect throughout the business.  The employee is more loyal to the organisation and the pay-back is significant both in terms of a reduction in recruitment costs and an increase in productivity and innovation."

The CBI is calling on the government to remove barriers to improve co-operation between higher education and industry, arguing that traditional university courses will not meet the growing demand for degree-level technical skills in manufacturing, construction, IT and engineering.

And it says there needs to be a greater commitment to high-quality training courses such as advanced apprenticeships, work-based training and fast-track schemes aimed at school leavers alongside traditional degrees.

"Over the past five years, we have been helping to bridge the skills gap with a blended approach to workplace learning which has benefited some 10,000 employees. It provides a foundation of learning that grows with them as they develop their careers.

"Our experience of working with bluechip organisations across a range of sectors, particularly around higher apprentice programmes, has shown the importance and value of focusing that learning on real-time issues, using experiential approaches and moving with the business."  

She added: "While we are part of Coventry University, our approach is far from traditional.  There has to be a blend of technical skills and knowledge with behavioural change otherwise you can end up back where you started.  It's not chalk and talk, it's fluid learning focused on the business with a higher education kitemark."


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