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.



Training in SMEs in the East Flanders region, Belgium

This chapter begins by providing a snapshot of the current position and place of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within Belgium’s workforce. Investigation of the difficulties surrounding encouragement and pursuit of training activities follows, which highlights areas such as cost, lack of specialist training suppliers, and absence of formal training plans and associated budgets. Recognition of the importance of knowledge intensive service activities is noted, but the difficulties inherent in measuring these activities are also acknowledged. The chapter concludes with recommendations regarding policy implications for policy developers, including the need to: recognise the high percentage of SMEs in Belgium; affirm the strategic importance of improving employee’s skills; contribute, even in small ways, to a green economy; and to undertake more networking between companies and training institutions.


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