SummitSkills points to poor management skills inhibiting productivity

Productivity in the building-services engineering sector is being inhibited by poor management and leadership skills, according to research by SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for building-services engineering. In its research report, SummitSkills outlines 10 factors that influence the sector’s productivity. After exploring issues that included the economy, migrant workers and entrenpreneurship, it found that leadership and management skills are a major area of weakness — and one where specific action is needed. Businesses often assume that good craftspeople whose technical skills enable them to excel also have the ability to become competent managers. Most of the companies surveyed said that their managers did not hold a management qualification. Where managers were trained, a wide range of qualifications were used, and very few were sector-specific. The building-services engineering sector rarely trains its staff in managerial and leadership techniques and has difficulty allowing managers time to take managerial courses. Managers with formal qualifications are deemed suitably qualified for management, although evidence suggest this may not be the case. Keith Marshall, chief executive of SummitSkills, explains, ‘There is no coherent set of management qualifications on offer for the sector to improve its skills. The confusion about management qualifications and the poor uptake of management training has led us to believe that these issues could be a key cause of low productivity in the sector, compared to international competitors, rather than skill deficiencies in craft operatives, as has been previously suggested. ‘SummitSkills and out partners need to identify a clear suite of “fit-for-purpose” management qualifications that are available in formats that are easy and attractive to engage with.’
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