Third sector managers 'have skills gaps'

Third sector managers are often insufficiently prepared to take on their responsibilities because of skills gaps, according to a new report.

Research carried out by the UK Workforce Hub at umbrella group the NCVO shows that skills gaps for managers are at their widest in the areas of strategic management and people management.

"Skills gaps in management have the greatest impact," the report says. "Participants identified that this was because they affected the whole organisation and its different stakeholders."

The report says that a "progression path within organisations was often lacking", with the result that managers were insufficiently prepared for their new roles.

The research was carried out through a series of focus groups with human resources staff from voluntary sector organisations and a workshop for third sector infrastructure organisations.

Those taking part in the focus groups and workshops had stated their willingness to take part during the UK Workforce Hub's 2007 voluntary sector skills survey of 2,564 voluntary sector organisations.

Other findings in the survey, Third Sector Skills Research 2008: further evidence and recommendations on skills gaps, are:

  • The need to multi-task in smaller organisations had a negative impact on the level of skills available - larger organisations were able to recruit dedicated staff
  • Formal training sometimes led to a prescriptive way of addressing skills gaps that did not match organisational and individual needs
  • Evaluation forms were not always valid because they "failed to address the transfer of learning"
  • A lack of funding and time for training was a "key barrier" to skills development.


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