How will the election result impact your training business?
So, the votes are in, counted, and the Conservatives have been re-elected for another five years. There was no hung parliament, no Coalition, and in the end – not much contest.
UK businesses will be comforted that the clouds of uncertainty around the possibility of a hung parliament are dispersing. Inevitably, some aspects of Coalition policy have to be compromises - clearly this dynamic will no longer be present. Owners of training businesses will have high expectations going forward, with the Tories declaring SME’s are “the lifeblood of the economy”.
Business was a major talking point in the lead up to the election, with both sides trading blows regarding which was the correct path for recovery – with the fate of UK business underpinning the performance of the overall economic recovery.
Recent surveys suggest strong support for a Tory Government from UK business owners keen to see support for innovation, growth and entrepreneurship continue.
We all saw the stories in the press in the lead up to the election of up to 5000 UK SME’s signing a letter in support of David Cameron being allowed to, “finishing what he started” – but is there genuinely an agenda to help not just the large organisations?
Election promises directly affecting training providers include, supporting UK businesses in creating two Million extra jobs during the next parliamentary term, an apprenticeship or traineeship being mandatory following a fixed term “Youth Allowance” and the creation of three million new apprenticeship places.
The Tories see Britain’s “Jobs Miracle” as one of their biggest successes of late. However, apart from headline-grabbing titles aimed at lowering the unemployment rate and the occasional mention of vocational training, there is little of any note relating to skills.
A major challenge will be changing the way that apprenticeships are funded, devolving more responsibility to employers. Employers need greater control and co-ordination with the government to guarantee apprenticeships are a pathway to a sound career.
It could be argued that a significant opportunity is being missed in developing the UK workforce so that that it is even more competitive on an international stage – and in turn providing L&D and the recovery of the UK economy with even further impetus.
A move such as this would also raise the profile of L&D on the national landscape and help to establish it on an equal footing with HR at the “top table” of UK business.
As with many other sectors, UK L&D certainly felt the pinch during the recession. Both L&D managers and learning providers were asked to “do more with less” and develop new, innovative learning interventions.
Now that the recession is beginning to fade into the distance and the green shoots of recovery have firmly taken hold, developing workforce skills is once again on the agenda of UK businesses.
Business owners right across the country work hard, make sacrifices and invest their own money to help their businesses grow and succeed.
However, some argue that it is equally up to UK industry – and not just parliament - to drive through business innovation, change and growth. If we, as UK businesses, want to be in control of our future, we must demonstrate that we have the skills and appetite to make it happen.
So, is Britain once again open for business? Only the next few years will tell and the small matter of the EU referendum.
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