Proskills is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the process and manufacturing sector, which represents the extractive and mineral-processing industries as well as building products, coatings, glass and print. SSCs – there are 25 covering all key sectors – have been created by government. It has been recognized that to succeed in the drive to improve the UK’s productivity and competitiveness, employers must be firmly in the driving seat when it comes to determining the strategic direction and planning relating to skills and training. Proskills is an employer-led, UK-wide organization actively involving professional bodies, trade unions and other key stakeholders.
So what exactly does Proskills do and how does it ensure that it is representing the needs of the employers? In simple terms, the role of Proskills is to:
- Work with employers to identify the current and future skills needs of the industry.
- Ensure adequate provision to education, training and qualifications is available to deliver these skills.
- Influence and source funding to support the skills targets of the industry.
Fortunately for the extractive and mineral-processing industries, Proskills has an added advantage, namely Roseanne Hayward. Roseanne works full-time on behalf of Proskills as the Industry Champion. Roseanne joined Proskills on a long-term secondment basis in June 2005 from EPIC Training and Consulting Services Ltd, where she gained a wealth of industry knowledge and experience over many years. Her role has been put to invaluable and ongoing use as she is responsible for ensuring that the industries’ interests and requirements are fully captured, interpreted and accurately reflected by Proskills.
Roseanne’s input is crucial to ensure industry buy-in, and to facilitate delivery. Direction on employers’ requirements is achieved via the work of the Proskills extractive and mineral-processing industry group. The group, chaired by David Sharman, corporate services director for Hanson Aggregates, comprises around 20 members. Each one is either a senior employer in their own right or an official from one of the sector’s trade bodies, professional institutions or trade unions, including:
- British Aggregates Association
- Health & Safety Executive
- Institute of Asphalt Technology
- Institute of Quarrying
- Quarry Products Association.
The chairman of the group also sits on Proskills’ main board to ensure the needs of the industry group are met. Roseanne, as the Industry Champion, is responsible for liaising with the chairman on issues as they occur, organizing the industry group meetings and delivering the resulting actions. All work and projects undertaken by Proskills that affect the industry are actively monitored and filtered by Roseanne before general release.
Employers have been working with Proskills since its formation to prioritize its needs, which it sees as: sector image; health and safety; skills provision; needs of SMEs; and skills funding. These are challenging issues and in some circumstances demand flexible solutions suited to the differing needs of individual businesses.
The following are a few examples of the work currently being undertaken:
- Development of a new Apprenticeship Framework.
- Development of a new Proskills website dedicated to attracting young people to consider a career in the industry.
- Joint work with the Quarry Products Association on industry-wide careers initiatives.
- Attracting and recruiting ex-service personnel into the industry.
- Proskills is leading a project on behalf of all SSCs to look at the possibility of developing common basic competencies in health and safety to create a ‘universal’ entry-level standard aimed primarily at school/college leavers.
- In addition, this project will look towards providing ‘signposting’ particularly aimed at SMEs to assist them in selecting the most appropriate and cost-effective health and safety training solutions.
- The development of qualifications for specialist groups of employees where no current provision exists, such as weighbridge and bulk-explosive truck operators.
- Negotiating national and regional contracts to draw down funding for skills training.
Proskills is the industry’s voice on education, training, qualifications and skills. To find out more contact Roseanne Hayward on tel: (01235) 432032.