The government has announced that its new Train to Gain programme has already helped over 50,000 employees and 10,000 businesses.
Skills Minister Phil Hope, speaking at the National Business Awards in London earlier this week, noted how the £230 million programme [for the period 2006-2007] is helping businesses "find the right training for their staff".
He said: "The Train to Gain service has now reached over 10,000 employers and the first 50,000 employees are now in learning. This is a very successful start for the Government's new flagship employer training programme".
"By the end of 2010 we expect that over half a million people will have achieved a first full level 2 Qualification through Train to Gain, equivalent to 5 good GCSEs. There is a long way to go but the Learning and Skills Council and its network of skills brokers and training providers have made a terrific start in helping employees and their employers to get the training they need to be more productive", he added.
Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, said: "It's heartening to see so many employers taking part in the scheme. We fully support Train to Gain and believe the programme is going to have a real impact on the amount of training happening in the workplace, especially among hard to reach businesses".
Costs for the Train to Gain programme are £230 million for the period 2006-2007, £399 million for 2007-2008, and £427 million for 2008-2009. This money is being ploughed into addressing the low and basic skills problems of an estimated 6.8 million adults aged 16 to 65; 21% according to DfES figures.
David Way, National Director of Skills at the Learning and Skills Council, said of the Train to Gain initiative: "The Government's investment in Train to Gain underlines its firm commitment to address skills shortages. Train to Gain is the most important service available to employers today, putting the strategic needs of the business at the heart of decisions about training".
"All employers, big and small, have a chance to define the skills and training needed, address skills shortages using the help and guidance of a specialist advisor. Delivering high quality flexible training for employers is fundamental to the success of Train to Gain. Training Providers responding to the exact skills training needs of employers [will] help with the building of constructive relationships".
He continued: "To date employers have reacted positively to Train to Gain. An independent survey of employers receiving the new skills brokerage service offered by Train to Gain said that nearly 90% were satisfied or better".
The statement comes on the back of yesterdays LSC announcement that Train to Gain has been rolled out across Surrey.
Bob Walding, Area Director [LSC Surrey] said: "Train to Gain is a dynamic new way of working with employers and is designed to put their businesses" skills development needs first and ensure that the delivery of training is much more responsive to their needs. We know that across Surrey 21% of adults in the workforce lack the basic Level 2 qualification, equivalent to 5 good GCSEs - the minimum set of skills and competencies needed to get on in working life. This compares to 24% in Berkshire and 29% in Hampshire".
"Clearly this skills gap has implications for businesses in Surrey. Train to Gain plugs this gap and provides business-led training".
And Rob Donnelly, Skills Broker in the Surrey region said: "These days in a competitive business market it is the survival of the fittest. Skills Brokers can help you by kick-starting your fitness campaign so that your people are skilled and ready to meet the challenges ahead".
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