March insights from the NSAR Chief Executive

Competency management is an important component of the skills landscape. It goes hand in hand with workforce planning – organisations need to have sight over their staff competencies and training to understand where the skills gaps are and where to build talent to maximise their workforce. 

NSAR is developing a functionality for its competency management system (CMS) Skills ID that is focused towards small businesses. There is a perception that CMSs are only for large businesses, with SMEs often using spreadsheets to manage staff skill sets. But this is time-consuming and leaves a lot of room for error. There are many benefits to having a CMS as a small business – confidence in staff competencies, easy access to information (especially useful in the event of an audit) and a signal to contracting businesses that your staff are skilled and can be trusted.

It is vital that the new version of Skills ID is useful and functional for SMEs, so we are looking for businesses to advise and guide us through this process. Please get in touch.

I also want to mention the draft Rail Reform Bill that was published recently. It is clear that the Great British Railways Transition Team have been doing some good thinking. We know that there is an appetite for reform and unhappiness with the way train operations are contracted currently and the track and train split.

Now the Government have set out their plan, it will be interesting to see the Labour policy in this area. The George Bradshaw Address showed that there is cross-party support for an integrated rail body, the point of difference is the role of the private sector and nationalisation. At the end of the day, NSAR doesn’t mind what the name above the door is – we want to see more investment in skills and technology and a long-term plan to drive productivity and lessen skills shortages. We are developing a series of policy papers to expand on this view – NSAR members should keep an eye out for these in the coming months.

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