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.


Skills development on the ground: Formal and alternative approaches by firms

This chapter investigates forms of knowledge sourcing for skills development other than formal approaches, including knowledge intensive service activities (KISA). A web-based survey questionnaire was supplied to firms in the participating countries. Analysis of the data obtained includes: skill levels of the employees (low, medium, high); age bracket; country; preferred training methodology (vocational education and training versus KISA); types of skills; outcomes from training by employee, company and local region effects; effects of the financial crisis on training activities; and motivations for skills development. Finally, policy implications resulting from this analysis are outlined, including noting that the types of skills development appear to be linked to the existing skill levels of employees, which is of importance because of its potential impact upon low-skilled workers’ future employability.


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