Posted by: the3rdi | April 22, 2010


AAT asks Britain’s leading political parties, for England, Scotland and Wales, how they plan to build skills and support businesses.

In the run up to, and beyond, this year’s General Election the focus on skills – and how they can revive our flagging economy – will continue to be a key issue. All the main parties for England, Scotland and Wales have now launched their manifestos but what commitment will they make to build the skills the economy so
badly needs?

Representing nearly 120,000 UK workers, AAT, the leading professional body for accounting staff, has questioned the senior education and skills spokespeople from all Britain’s main political parties – including Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party – and asked how they intend to build the nation’s skills and support small businesses.

The AAT questioned the following senior politicians:

·    Rt Hon Pat McFadden, Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills (Labour)
·    John Hayes, Shadow Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher
Education (Liberal Democrat)
·    Stephen Williams, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities
and Skills (Liberal Democrat)
·    Nerys Evans AM – Education Spokesperson (Plaid Cymru) – Welsh Assembly
·    Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning (SNP) – Scottish

They were asked six questions exploring how they would provide the skills needed by businesses, promote vocational education, and improve the education and skills delivery system.  The full questions and their responses can be found
online at

“The revival of the British economy depends on a robust skills policy that delivers a tangible return on investment,” explained Jane Scott Paul, AAT’s Chief Executive. “This can only be achieved with some significant and wide-
ranging changes to the skills delivery framework.”

She continued: “Less bureaucracy and more employer involvement in the development of skills training needs to be a priority, but one size most certainly does not fit all.  The system needs to be more flexible to take
account of different sectors, and different learner needs – particularly in a cross-sector profession like accountancy – and focus on the practical outcome that the training delivers, not the hours spent in a class-room.”

Faced with this challenge, the AAT has already launched its own manifesto for change: Delivering skills that power the economy, a document that outlines its five main recommendations for improvement in the skills delivery framework.

For 30 years, the AAT has played a leading role in training and developing the accounting and finance professionals who keep businesses moving across all sectors of Britain’s economy.  Each year, it awards over 30,000 skills-based qualifications and its learners range from students just starting out (18% of who come from the lowest socio-economic groups) to seasoned professionals looking to keep their skills fresh in a fast-changing business climate.


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