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Skills Development and Training in SMEs

image of Skills Development and Training in SMEs

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.

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Innovators, exporters and new skills development

This chapter analyses participation in training and skills development activities on the basis of other characteristics within the firm such as innovative activity, sector and export orientation. In this chapter we use these characteristics as a proxy for growth potential firms. There is extensive literature on the relationships between innovative activity in firms, and revenue and employment growth over the longer term. Exporting firms are also more likely to develop new markets and therefore present similar growth prospects. This allows some conclusions about the association of training activities and the characteristics of these firms to be drawn. The chapter also examines the performance of organisations in skills development within emerging skills areas such as entrepreneurship and green skills.

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