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World of Learning: L&D professionals call for Government to invest in training for unemployed civil servants

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Professionals in the learning and development (L&D) sector believe many former public sector workers are not ready for the commercial world and have called for the Government to offer training to help them to adapt, according to a survey by the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition.

Respondents have called on the Conservative Party, at its forthcoming Annual Conference, to announce plans to invest in training for unemployed civil servants. In the World of Learning survey, more than two thirds (67%) of those who expressed a clear opinion are in favour of the Government setting aside budget to retrain public sector staff and provide them with the skills required to develop a career in the corporate world or become self-employed.

Andrew Gee, senior project manager at Venture Marketing Group, the organisers of the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition, said: "It is clear from the survey respondents that some employers may be wary of taking on public sector staff because they feel they do not have suitable skills. It is an issue that needs to be taken into account in today's changing business environment as the Government releases many civil servants into the job market."

Karen Velasco, chair of the British Institute for Learning and Development, added: "Many civil servants will find difficulty in making the transition to private sector roles. We would like an announcement at the Conservative Party Annual Conference of investment in retraining to prepare redundant public sector staff for the commercial world.

"In tough economic times it is vital that organisations including the Government continues to invest in learning and development. All too often it is training budgets that are the first to be cut. All employees, regardless of their background, require training to cope with the changing business environment and where necessary should be given the opportunity to develop more marketable skills. The BILD would recommend funding in this area to encourage training."

The impact of budget cuts on L&D in the public sector will be explored, alongside other key topics that are having a major impact on the industry, in the free seminar programme at the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition. Industry experts will explore the issue using examples including a case study from Leicestershire County Council.

Susanne Evans, MD at Feldspar Consulting, who will be presenting on The role of learning and development in supporting public sector change, said: "Having worked extensively in the public sector, I know there are many talented workers who could add value to the private sector. It is clear that some individuals moving out of the public sector will need support to make this transition. It would also be useful for the Government to provide support to the private sector to address any concerns about taking on these employees."

The World of Learning Exhibition, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 September 2011, brings together 100 UK and international exhibitors offering the latest in ideas across all sectors of L&D, from e-learning and using social media in learning and consultancy to experiential learning, coaching and informal learning.