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 Zaglebie sub-region, Poland

This chapter begins with the provision of a background portrait of the Zaglebie sub-region of Poland, outlining why this area was chosen for study. Difficulties encountered by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) when attempting to provide or undertake training are then discussed, including the high costs associated with training, a lack of comprehension regarding the benefits of undertaking training, and an inability to properly assess workers’ training needs. The informal learning sector was then investigated, with results showing very low levels of recognition of the importance of and benefits to be realised by communication and interaction with external institutions. Internal training via informal channels is then noted as being a recurring practice among the more successful medium-sized companies, highlighting the usefulness of encouraging regular internal communication and a flexible organisational structure. The chapter concludes with a look at policy development implications arising from the research, particularly noting the importance of government focus on encouraging inter-communication and informal training networks within and among SMEs.


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