Extractives industry supports Proskills
AT the recent series of half-day events held around the UK, over 95% of attendees supported the formation of Proskills, the prospective sector skills council that will work with government to develop the skills that UK business needs in five key industry sectors: extractives, paint & coatings, glass, refractories and print.
The roadshow sessions attracted more than 200 people from the industry, including 46 from the extractives and mineral-processing sector. At each event Terry Watts, Proskills’ newly appointed chief executive officer, outlined the purpose and structure of the new venture and then led discussion in group sessions where participants discussed the key skills issues, the role of government in the industrial training arena and how Proskills will help will help meet the current challenges.
Ken Riley, Proskills’ director for the extractive and minerals processing industries, was delighted with the success of the roadshows. ‘Proskills will be the key forum through which the voice of the sector will be heard on the important issues facing our businesses. It is essential to continue this dialogue, as Proskills needs to know what help and support employers want in terms of training, skills and qualifications, as well as where the problems are so that changes can be made to meet industry’s current and future demands.’
Feedback from the roadshows identified four key skill priorities for the sector: recruitment and development of young people into the industry, improvement of management competence, continuous development of the workforce, and health and safety competencies.
Acting on the first of these, Proskills is already undertaking a £190,000 project to look at ways of attracting more young people in a job-market where competition from ‘sexier’ industries, such as media and IT, make it difficult to recruit into the industry. The project will look at good practice across the sector, leading to the creation of a set of new and modified apprenticeship programmes which are expected to be available in the spring of 2006.