Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
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Lord Young announces deal to up-skill workers in housing and fashion

Lord Young announces deal to up-skill workers in housing and fashion

DEPARTMENT FOR INNOVATION, UNIVERSITIES AND SKILLS News Release (061/2008) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 15 October 2008

A new three-year agreement between the Government and employers will deliver more skilled workers to do the jobs of the future in housing, facilities management, fashion and textiles, Skills Minister Lord Young announced today.

The Government will earmark more than £93m from its training budget to tackle current and future skills shortages within these key sectors - £69m to help the property, housing, cleaning and facilities management sector and £24.5m to help the fashion and textile industry. The funding will enable employers to improve the qualifications and skills of their current workforce, offer greater numbers of apprenticeships as well as train new recruits.

Today's announcement is part of a radical shake-up of the skills and training system started by ministers to tackle both current and expected skills shortages. Similar deals are expected to be announced in the future.

Lord Young said:
"Industries such as fashion and textiles, housing and facilities management make an important and valued contribution to our national life. As a nation, we need more highly trained people if we are to continue to lead the world in an increasingly competitive global economy. Now, more than ever, the success of our country will depend on doing even more to increase people's skills and their ability to gain jobs.

"Radical changes we have made to the skills and training system over the past two years helped ensure £38 billion was spent on training by British businesses last year. That is a real achievement but working together we can do more. We've really listened to employers and taken action to remove barriers to training. This latest agreement will ensure employers have access to flexible, world-class training tailored to the specific needs of their business, delivered when and where they need it."

In return for this funding, the Sector Skills Councils, Asset Skills and Skillfast-UK, will use their unique understanding of their sectors to encourage employers to take advantage of Government initiatives such as Train to Gain, to make the Skills Pledge, offer more Apprenticeships and ensure their staff are given the opportunity to gain relevant qualifications and training.

Richard Beamish, Chief Executive of Asset Skills, said:
"Train to Gain is integral to the way in which all Asset Skills` teams work with employers throughout England. We have a duty to ensure that they know what opportunities are to be offered as a result of the compact; one of the other keys to success will be our commitment to working closely with skills brokers in every region."

Linda Florance, chief executive of Skillfast-UK said:
"In the past, fashion and textiles employers have often been unable to take advantage of Government support for skills, as the programmes were not always a good fit with the industry's priorities. Not only does this deal represent a dramatic increase in funding support for skills - it also puts the investment into workplace-based training, where it can make a real difference to businesses."

Government support will be tailored to meet employers' specific skills needs. Part of the Train to Gain budget will now be available specifically to train employees who already hold GCSE or A-level equivalent qualifications (level 2 and level 3) but who need more specific, or more up-to-date qualifications in, for example, management and leadership and customer service.

Future compact agreements will similarly rely on the expertise of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) to encourage employers to take up Government skills programmes, in return for funding and support. Those sectors in which increased investment in skills is needed to shape a modern, competitive economy will be prioritised.

The move follows the Government's recently launched consultation on a new right to time to train for employees, and a renewed commitment to ensure the skills system delivers appropriately trained people for industries employing the workforce of the future.

Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) said:

"The LSC welcomes these sector compacts as a key part of LSC support to employers through our Train to Gain Service. We have a strong track record of meeting employer skills needs in these sectors and are pleased to be working with Asset Skills and Skillfast-UK to increase the number of employers who will benefit from this enhanced support."

Government investment in Train to Gain will rise to over £1 billion by 2010-11, supporting over 800,000 learners to improve their skills and gain new qualifications.

Notes to editors
1) Lord Young
Lord Young of Norwood Green became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills and Apprenticeships on Monday, 6 October 2008 - a role previously held by David Lammy.

2) Train to Gain
Managed by the Learning and Skills Council, Train to Gain is the Government's flagship service to support employers in England, of all sizes and in all sectors, to improve the skills of their employees, unlock talent and drive improved business performance. An important element of Train to Gain is the skills brokerage service which offers free impartial advice, and helps find the best training solution from high quality and responsive training providers to meet business needs.
Train to Gain is important because skills shortages continue to have a negative impact on UK productivity and competitiveness in the face of fast-growing economies. Train to Gain aims to encourage all businesses and individuals to value and realise the benefits that learning and skills can bring and to invest appropriately. Train to Gain was launched two years ago. Already 100,000 employers and over 570,000 employees have benefited from the service. We expect the figures to increase significantly over the next couple of years as more employers get involved in training and improving the skills of their workforce.

3) Sector Skills Councils
Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are employer led and Government-licensed organisations established to improve the skills of the UK workforce to boost productivity and competitiveness. There are 25 of them, covering approximately 85% of the UK workforce.

4) Sector Compacts
Sector Compacts are non-contractual agreements between the DIUS, the LSC and SSCs. Compacts provide SSCs with access to additional resource to work with the LSC and Train to Gain brokerage service to encourage employers to take advantage of Apprenticeships and the Train to Gain offer and sign up to the Skills Pledge. To date, compacts have been announced with the construction, hospitality, process, science and technology and justice sectors. For more information see:

5) Asset Skills
Asset Skills is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the property, housing, facilities management, cleaning and parking industries. Asset Skills works with business, public and professional bodies and learning providers to ensure the training employers need is available to meet their current and future skills needs.
Anticipated outputs from the new agreement will include:
* Minimum 5,000 employer engagements and referrals to Train to Gain Skills Brokers in England;
* An increase of 22,685 learners at full Level 2 NVQ above the current baseline figure, of which 70% will be first achievements and 30% repeat achievements (263 Team Leading and 1,455 Customer Service);
* An increase of 3,404 full Level 3 NVQs above the current baseline figure, of which 80% will be first achievements and 20% repeat achievements (1,104 Management and Leadership and 513 Customer Service);
* 2,500 Skills Pledge commitments;
* 2,500 Management and Leadership outcomes;
* 2,500 Apprenticeships starts; and
* 1,234 Skills for Life achievements.

6) Skillfast-UK
Skillfast-UK is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for fashion and textiles which helps employers to compete in a global market, by ensuring access to a skilled workforce, capable of delivering added-value products and services.
Anticipated outputs from the new agreement will include:

* Minimum 1,500 employer engagements and referrals to Train to Gain Skills Brokers in England;
* An increase of 8,000 learners at full Level 2 NVQ above the current baseline figure, of which 70% will be first achievements and 30% second achievements;
* An increase of 2,500 learners at full Level 3 NVQs above the current baseline figure, of which 80% will be first achievements and 20% second achievements;
* 1,000 Skills Pledge commitments;
* 200 Management and Leadership outcomes;
* 500 Apprenticeships starts; and
* 600 Skills for Life achievements.

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