Today (Thursday 26th February), in a keynote address to delegates, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary Grahame Smith the STUC called for a new approach to training to meet the challenges Scotland faces in the recession
The Scottish Union Learning Everyday Skills event in the Dewars Centre in Perth, heard Grahame Smith say
“Training has never been more important and that is why we’ve been lobbying Government, employers, the Sector Skills Councils and others to work with us to ensure investment in skills continues throughout the recession. And we need a particular focus on everyday skills in this regard. We know from lots of evidence and our own experience that it is those with the fewest skills and qualifications that are first to lose their jobs in a downturn and find it the hardest to get a new job and to keep it for any length of time.
“I am sceptical that the training and skills infrastructure we now have, and the policy framework and funding arrangements that we have, are up to dealing with the type of recession we face. While we need to retain focus on the long term, future prospects could be critically undermined if the appropriate action is not taken to deal with the immediate consequences of recession.
“The Government and its agencies, including the Enterprise Agencies, need to seriously consider whether strategies, entirely appropriate to the conditions that prevailed when they were devised and for the long term, should be adapted to fit the conditions that prevail now and could be with us for some time.
“That also applies to the UK Government and its approach to welfare reform. Tackling persistent, long term unemployment has to remain a priority but attempting to significantly reducing the numbers on Incapacity Benefit in times of rising unemployment will not be achieved through compulsion, draconian sanction or privatisation. It will be achieved through proper training and support, including everyday skills support where that is appropriate, and measures to create demand for jobs in the economy.”