Skills for life developing the workforce
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Skills for Life – Developing the Workforce. What are Skills for Life (SfL)?. “The ability to read, write and speak English and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general” DfES. Scale of need. DfES research suggests within London:

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What are skills for life sfl l.jpg
What are Skills for Life (SfL)?

“The ability to read, write and speak English and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general”


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Scale of need

DfES research suggests within London:

53% of the populationhave skills below Level 2 in literacy (below GCSE English Grade C)

74% of the population have skills below Level 2 in numeracy (below GCSE Maths Grade C)

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Why develop SfL?

“The success of local government services depends heavily on the attitude, skills and knowledge of its people…Councils should make skills development (including Skills for Life) a key part of their strategic approach.”

Local Government Pay and Workforce Strategy 2005

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Meeting priorities e.g.

  • Improving services - CPA, Best Value Review, Balanced Scorecard

  • Single Status

  • IiP

  • Service transformation and cost reductions

  • Recruitment and retention

  • Customer service

  • Developing frontline workforce skills and capability

  • Children’s services

  • E-Government and E-Learning

  • Representativeness of the workforce

  • Social inclusion

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SfL in practice means e.g.

  • Dealing with customers

  • Working in teams

  • Following regulations e.g. COSHH, H&S

  • Taking part in vocational training

  • Completing forms and writing reports

  • Timekeeping and planning

  • Calculating quantities and costs

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Examples of need

  • School Catering Staff – need to improve writing of menus, working in teams, and managing food stocks

  • Refuse Collectors – need to develop better customer service skills and to be able to suggest service improvements, eg. reducing missed bins

  • Cleaners – need to be able to improve practice of dilution of chemicals according to instructions

  • Street Wardens – need to be able to complete paperwork and improve communication and presentation skills

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How - Embedding SfL

  • Corporate and Departmental Workforce Development Plans

  • SfL learning within corporate training / tailor made

  • Recruitment

  • Induction

  • IiP process

  • Appraisal

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Success factors

  • Partnership approach with unions and providers

  • Build from existing provision

  • Set up steering group

  • Consult fully on strategy

  • Undertake in-depth awareness raising

  • Positive message re learning and development – respect sensitivities

  • Undertake needs analysis

  • Evaluate impact - organisation and individual

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Benefits- LB Barking and Dagenham

  • Improved customer service levels

  • Reduction in corporate complainants

  • Better communication (internal / external)

  • Employees can see progression and promotion opportunities

  • Lower staff turnover

  • Less absenteeism

  • Better understanding of Health and Safety

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Benefits– Staffordshire County Council

  • Efficiency savings on materials

  • Fewer complaints

  • Higher customer satisfaction

  • Lower staff turnover

  • Contributed to reduction in reported accidents under RIDDOR

  • More staff going forward for other vocational training

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Managers’ views

“It’s important to us to get maximum potential from all our staff. Skills for Life is something that can draw out the skills of people at all levels within the council.”

Caroline Bull, Chief Executive, Oxford City Council

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Managers’ views

“If you have got an opportunity to undertake Skills for Life development there will be tremendous paybacks both in commercial and motivational terms.”

Nigel Hails, Director of Neighbourhood Services, Newcastle City Council