trainingAlmost two-thirds (64 per cent) of employers agree weaknesses in leadership and management in the UK are holding back company growth, according to new research published by Cranfield School of Management and learndirect.

Despite this the research – published in a report called The new vocational currency: investing for success – shows only four in ten companies offer their staff training in these crucial skills.

The report examines the value of vocational qualifications to both individuals and employers and also looks at the issue of management skills in the UK, drawing on new research from You Gov.

It found more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of UK employers agree weaknesses in leadership and management skills are also preventing employees from reaching their full potential.

As a result the report recommends making management skills mandatory for all Apprenticeship frameworks at level 3 and above.

Dr Emma Parry, Reader in Human Resource Management at Cranfield School of Management and report co-author said: “This research clearly shows that employers agree a lack of management training is having a negative impact on business growth and yet only four in ten companies offer their staff training in these crucial skills. It is clear from these results that vocational qualifications are strong currency in the UK employment market.

“British businesses have an opportunity to broaden their talent pool by recruiting more people who hold vocational qualifications and may have been overlooked in the past due to not having a degree. This research shows that employers regard vocational qualifications positively, so now has never been a matter time to study a vocational qualification.”

Gill Craven, Director of Service Development at learndirect, said: “There’s no doubt the government focus on vocational qualifications, particularly apprenticeships, is the right one to build a skills base for the UK which is fit to compete in the twenty-first century.

“However, the issue of poor leadership and management is holding back the success of both companies and individuals. With the huge amounts of public funds being channelled into apprenticeships it makes sense to tackle this issue as well and make management a mandatory element at level 3 and above.”

Other recommendations in the report include:

• Improving the status of vocational education and training in the UK – for example through a national government-led campaign and introducing a new duty on schools to provide information, advice and guidance on the full range of vocational options.

• The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to work with industry bodies to improve UK management – including ensuring new government ministers and their shadows receive management training.