Employers' demand for skilled workers is still rising and universities and colleges are best at delivering what they require, according to a report from the Department of Education and Employment published this week.
Skill Needs in Britain 1996 found that 74 per cent of medium and large employers believe the skills required from the average employee are increasing. The rise of multi-skilling and the high rate of change of new technology means that employees need greater management competence and better computer literacy, communication, personal and practical skills.
More employers are recognising the importance of off-the-job training. The number of employers who had released staff to gain formal qualifications in further and higher education or in private training companies was rising. In 1994, 58 per cent of employers used off-the-job training, compared to 65 per cent in 1996.
Sixty-one per cent used private companies to train workers, but further education institutions were the fastest growing providers. The most unexpected finding, the report said was: "when asked which organisations had actually helped the employers in reaching their longer term skill needs, universities and HE colleges received the highest positive response at 76 per cent."