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Industry fears over new training rights

Staff could be given the right to time off for training, under the proposed Education and Skills Bill highlighted in the Queen’ Speech to parliament earlier this month.

The proposed bill also promises an apprenticeship place for every suitable qualified young person by 2013.

Paul Williams, chairman of Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), voiced concern over the right to training, saying that while it was laudable, businesses would have to be able to accommodate this in the right ways.

Referring to apprenticeships, Williams said that vocational training was vital for the UK economy.

”This would provide them with a skill and go some way to reducing staffing shortages experience by many industries, including the retail motor sector.”

Steve Scofield, head of skills development at the Institute of the Motor Industry, said it supported any further development of individuals to increase the skills base and make organisations more profitable.

Regarding the right to train, Scofield added: “The only caveat is that we have to be mindful of the present economic climate.
“But organisations which come out of the recession need skilled staff to be in place to succeed.”

The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s programme, also outlined a proposed Equality Bill to “promote quality, fight discrimination and introduce transparency in the workplace to help address the difference in pay between men and women”.

Williams said assuring equal pay for women in the workplace must not be achieved at the expense of business competitiveness.

“We will work with government to assure that the bill is one that industry can accept.”

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