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 West Midlands region, the United Kingdom

This chapter provides a detailed look at the research undertaken in the West Midlands region of England. Following an introduction that includes a summary outline of current training-related policy direction in the United Kingdom, there is a discussion of the results obtained from the TSME survey, with a particular focus on barriers to training, and areas in which companies feel they need to most focus their training efforts. Investigation of small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs) participation in knowledge intensive service activities (KISA) and other informal training activities is next, as well as a study of the primary sources of informal training for SMEs. Finally, implications for policy development are outlined, including: the importance of contextualising training; encouraging companies to seek growth via training; utilise alternative frameworks to build and strengthen capacity and capabilities; and the SMEs’ discussion of their need for government-based funding to support training activities.


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