Cabinet Office
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New third sector skills body

New third sector skills body

CABINET OFFICE News Release (CAB/102/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 21 October 2008

The Government today announced plans to create a new Third Sector skills body which will identify and address skills gaps and shortages for charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises and other third sector organisations. It will pull together the work of the sector skills councils to open up learning opportunities for third sector paid and voluntary staff. It will ensure the sector's needs are properly considered in the design development of National Occupational Standards, the design Apprenticeship Frameworks and Sector Qualification Strategies.

The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) will jointly fund the new skills body with £2.5 million over the next three years. It will be independent and directed by a board representing the sector's employers. To help the new body become established, Skills for Justice will act as an incubator.

Kevin Brennan, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

"This will put the third sector's skills needs on the same level as other sectors. Charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises deal with some of the most challenging social and environmental issues. Whether they are multi-million pound global operations or small community groups, having employees and volunteers with the right skills to get the job done is essential.

"The skills body is one more part of the Government's comprehensive strategy to help the third sector to thrive, root out injustice and build a fairer society."

Lord Young, Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, said:

"The third sector skills body will be a real step change to how charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups get the skills they need. As well as developing programmes to plug the immediate skill gaps, it will link the third sector in to the complete national skills framework and influence the development of skills support services for the benefit of the sector."

Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) said:

"We very much welcome this decision to create a dedicated skills body for the sector, which acknowledges the crucial part that our sector and its workforce play. The new body will be able to build on the experience of the Workforce Hub and its achievements of the past four years."

Notes to editors

1. The OTS is part of the Cabinet Office and first announced plans to create a dedicated third sector skills body in the 'Third Sector Review', an overarching strategy to create the environment for a thriving third sector. For further information please see:

2. Skills for Justice is the sector skills council for the justice sector. It will host the third sector workforce development council for the coming three years. For Further information please see:

3. National Occupational Standards define the competences which apply to job roles or occupations in the form of statements of performance, knowledge and the evidence required to confirm competence. For further information please see:

4. The NCVO is a national umbrella organisation for third sector organisations. For further information please see:

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