Lantra cites benefits of business skills training

Technical skills need to be back up with business training for the benefit of the industry.

Development of business and non-technical skills is at least as important as that of technical skills, the Lantra draft sector skills agreement (SSA) research has found. Consultation on the whole sector’s training requirements ends on 30 March. Chief executive Peter Martin said business skills were an increasing priority and the draft put forward business reasons for investing in skills. He expressed disappointment that regional development agencies focus on looking at skills in terms of economic, rather than sustainable development. SSAs are intended to ensure employers have “the right people with the right skills at the right time”. In exchange for greater spend on skills and business development, employers will be able to centrally influence skills policies and deployment of resources. Lantra’s document on historic and botanic skills needs was the first part of the initiative (HW, 26 January). The draft agreement, published in September 2005, said the sector employs a million people, including 210,000 businesses. The landscape sector employs 139,000, production horticulture 95,000 and arboriculture 30,000. The next stage in the SSA is to decide future action with employers and establish employer commitment to training and development, with a view to having the SSA in place by mid-summer. * See www.lantra.co.uk/SSAreports.asp#Stage3 and HW 30 March issue for a feature on the draft sector skills agreement.

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