Skills Development and Training in SMEs

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The report discusses the results of the OECD “Leveraging Training and Skills Development in SMEs” (TSME) project which examines access to training by SMEs across seven regions in six OECD countries: New Zealand, Poland, Belgium, UK, Turkey and Canada. The book analyses the policy issues related to both low access by SMEs, and how to recognise the increasing importance of informal training and skills development methods. The book looks at how both formal and alternative ways of training and skills development interact and identifies impacts at three levels; for the firm and employees; for the industry; and for the local area where the firm is located.

The report pays special attention to the development of entrepreneurial skills and the emerging area of “green skills”. This focus is not just because ‘green skills’ represent the next new training opportunity – the de-carbonisation of economies that will occur over the coming decades represents an industrial transformation on the scale of the microelectronics revolution - but in many ways the response to the green economy is at an emerging stage- this means we have the opportunity to implement lessons from previous successful practices into a skill development area that will have enormous reach.


Formal training and skills development: The state of play

This chapter analyses formal training activities within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It is anticipated that across Europe, most new jobs will be within knowledge and other skills intensive jobs. Results of the Continuing Vocational Training Surveys over the last few years are analysed, to determine levels of participation by small, medium and large firms in training and skills development activities, and the potential effects these training programmes will have on the future competitiveness of the SMEs. Areas investigated include: initial Vocational Education and Training (VET), specifically apprenticeships; and continuing VET (primarily that financed by the workplace).From these results, policy implications are suggested, which are designed to enable SMEs to utilise the findings to develop or improve their current training regimes, and to draw the attention of government agencies to how best to positively influence these companies.


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