Best Practice - Skills - Sector Skills Councils

Mind the Gap

Proskills Academy helps businesses to achieve best practice

Achieving industry best practice means finding and using the best ways of working to achieve your business objectives. Having the right skills is critical to business sustainability but for many businesses defining and measuring those skills accurately can be difficult.

Proskills Academy for Materials, Production and Supply aims is to ensure the spread of best practice by giving employers access to a wide range of products and services that are designed to help businesses achieve greater productivity and profitability by improving workforce and business performance through skills.

The practice of understanding, developing and deploying people and their skills along with a well-implemented skills management system will identify the skills that individual jobs require, the skills of individual employees and any gap between the two.

Skills management (the annual assessment) reviews performance against a set of agreed objectives. Most appraisals are a quick review of objectives with managers asking employees if they need training, but Strategic Skills Management is using the knowledge of the skills your business needs, checking that these are present in your workforce and then actively doing something to ensure these two areas are matched. If there are any gaps, the process seeks to identify these and move to eradicate them through additional training and targeted recruitment to help a business to perform better, to focus its energy and to be more competitive and profitable.

N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd, a designer and maker of fine custom furniture and bespoke architectural joinery has been trialling Profile Skills Manager since its launch.

NEJ Stevenson stated that "Serving multi-layers of an organisation’s internal structure, Profile is a truly useful skills needs analysis tool that supports the user organisation in identifying exact training needs. Jobs are matched to recognise industry standards of job competency, which are then used to benchmark individual, team and organisational performance, identify gaps and set learning priorities. It is an excellent appraisal tool and provides a comprehensive skills audit, including records of achievements and training."

“We at NEJ Stevenson are really excited about this product, which will assist us with training delivery. We are certain that profile will help us to boost our productivity and competiveness through improved workforce performance. It will also contribute significantly to securing the sustainability of our business by ensuring that critical skills are not lost and existing resources are used more effectively. Profile simplifies the whole skills management process by providing the user company with a pre-populated library of standard job roles, which can then be customised to suit your business.”

In addition to strategic skills management of the workforce, applying best practice also means learning from - and through - the experience of others.

Proskills Academy Industry Exchange encourages the sharing and adoption of best practice by arranging visits to UK companies recognised for their best practice and success.

Companies can view and discuss best practice initiatives first hand, evaluate how their operations compare, and utilise the most successful elements.

Learning from market leaders is a sure way to help raise the game of most companies, and by evaluating how your operations compare with the most effective businesses and then using their most successful elements, the 'best practice', can make a big difference to your business.

“We have signed up to be a hosting company because we see this as an excellent and exciting opportunity to share the successes of our award winning environmental management policy with other like-minded businesses. In return, we get the same insight into best practice in other companies that we can apply to our business

Industry Exchange is an excellent business and staff development tool, which enables businesses to drive change and achieve results. There is value in experience and there are benefits that can be achieved by sharing experiences with others.” Ann Moult, Johnson Tiles

Take control. A best practice strategy can help your business to become more profitable, more competitive, reduce costs and waste, improve quality and become more efficient as well as helping to improve the skills of your workforce.

Book onto an Industry Exchange event to experience cross sector best practice first hand or try out the free web-based Profile which allows managers to identify and address the current skills and knowledge of their workforce at the Proskills Academy website,

For more information contact Proskills Academy at or on 01235 432030

Source: National Skills Academy - Proskills: 1 September 2010