"

The importance of language skills in the transport sector was further enhanced by the appointment of Patsy Hodson to oversee the area of curriculum inclusion for GoSkills, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Passenger Transport.

The move is being viewed as a positive step on the part of GoSkills who are eager to raise the profile of language and customer service skills in schools and colleges throughout the country. With the Olympic Games certain to place increased strain upon the skills of the transport staff and with Britain the home to many different cultures and languages, the move would appear to be a timely one.

The Programme

The move to improve language skills and customer service awareness will see many organisations working in tandem. This will see GoSkills working closely with the expert bodies in these two areas, including the Institute for Customer Services (ICS) and the National Centre for Languages (CILT). This cooperation will be conducted by GoSkills on behalf of the Skills for Business Network.

These partners will work together in order to utilise pre "“ existing data and expertise to the best effect. The secondment of Patsy Hodson, an Assistant Head Teacher from Warrington, sees her joining GoSkills as part of this programme that is specifically designed to link industry and education. This is the result of a body called "Head Teachers into Industry."

Patsy will work with GoSkills and the Skills for Business Network, bringing both her extensive teaching background and her impressive eighteen years of business experience to bear. The programme aims to establish a level of good practice guidance for institutions involved in the provision of language training, offering them information and advice on the inclusion of languages and customer service skills in their respective curriculum. This guidance is anticipated to include reviewing current research, discussions with employers and the eventual production of a report identifying the way in which these important skills can be embedded in learning programmes.

Commenting on the Project"¦

Speaking of the work ahead, Patsy said: "I am delighted to be working with GoSkills and the Skills for Business Network on this project. Whilst working in the business and voluntary sectors, I became very aware of the disparities between the 14-19 curriculum and the employability skills needs of employers. As part of this secondment, I hope to be able to identify and illustrate best practice across the UK and to help in addressing the skills gaps that afflict both employers and young people."

The Chief Executive of GoSkills, Peter Huntington, said: "Customer service and languages skills are vitally important skills for the modern workplace. GoSkills is committed to working with employers and learning providers to ensure that young people are equipped for the workplace and employers have the skills they needs. I am pleased to that we have been able to recruit such an experienced and skilled educational professional to this project and am delighted to welcome Patsy to GoSkills."

Jethro Marsh

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