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14 May 2012
A whole new set of skills including business acumen and entrepreurship are required to cope with increasing demands on the Civil Service, according to a leading sector skills organisation.
Skills for Justice director Nick Skeet said that it was essential for public sector employees to develop business skills, an even stronger focus on customer service and greater flexibility to adapt to the rapidly changing climate.
Speaking at the launch of a two-year project by the FDA, the senior public servants' union, to improve learning opportunities and tackle skills shortages in the sector, Nick said:
"We must equip ourselves with a range of new flexible and transferable skills underpinned by professional standards of competence."
An audience of around 50 at the launch of the Professionalism in Public Delivery Union Learning Fund (ULF) project in Westminster, including civil servants, union learning representatives and delegates from the Cabinet Office and Union Learn, heard that job losses, rapid changes to people’s existing jobs and an ageing workforce made it difficult for employers to meet future challenges.
Nick added that different ways of working were now necessary with more services being provided by private and voluntary employers.
He said: "Employers and practitioners should not pretend that things can stay the same. The challenge is to emphasise what the Civil Service is good at but embrace the opportunity to acquire the new skills that are needed to fit the new environment."
Skills for Justice works with employers to develop and support the implementation of national occupation standards (NOS) in the sector and provide individuals and employers with recognised qualifications.
Employers can now have exclusive access to business information, resources and project support through a new membership scheme launched by Skills for Justice last month. Members access expert advice and guidance on qualifications, funding, research into sector employment trends, as well as a host of other tools to support the better productivity employers need to achieve and the recognition of skills and transferable value that employees require.
As part of its work, Skills for Justice aims to work in partnership over the next 12 months with Civil Service Learning (CSL), which provides courses and resources for developing skills across the Civil Service. In addition, Skills for Justice will work in partnership with individual Government departments, employers and unions to help them to recognise the value of what they already have in place and create the most effective blend of core Civil Service-wide provision and bespoke qualifications and training for their specific workforce.