Sector skills council

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Sector skills councils (SSCs) are employer-led organisations that cover specific industries in the United Kingdom. They have four key goals:

  • to support employers in developing and managing apprenticeship standards
  • to reduce skills gaps and shortages and improve productivity
  • to boost the skills of their sector workforces
  • to improve learning supply

SSCs aim to achieve these goals by developing an understanding of the future skills needs in their industry, and contributing to the development of National Occupational Standards, the design and approval of apprenticeship frameworks and the New Apprenticeship Standards and creating sector qualification strategies. There are currently nineteen SSCs, covering about 80 per cent of the British workforce. SSCs are licensed by the government through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).[1]

The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) was formerly responsible for funding, supporting and monitoring SSCs and for overseeing industries that fell outside an SSC footprint. In 2008, the SSDA was replaced by the UKCES and the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards comprising all nineteen sector skills councils. The federation is responsible for managing the process of certifying apprentices in England, Scotland and Wales. It seeks to:

  • promote professional practices among those organisations that are sector based and who set and maintain skills standards
  • manage the standards of those Employer-Led Partnerships which maintain these standards to ensure high quality
  • provide insight, intelligence and ideas flow between the Governments of the four nations and the SSCs


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