From education to employment

Conference speech contains details to help people back to work

Gordon Brown spoke about the need for skills in his speech to the TUC conference today. He said he wanted to fast-track people into new jobs with the help of Britain’s largest companies


Talking about the need to compete in a globalised world Mr Brown said:

“It is absolutely essential that we ensure that British workers receive all the support, training and skills so they can share in the benefits of globalisation too.

“Today with these two thirds of a million vacancies, the bigger barrier to full employment is not the lack of jobs but the lack of skills – and the lack of links between employers who need workers and workers who need jobs.”

Amongst his plans to help people get the skills and jobs they need are:-

*A guaranteed pre-apprenticeship course or place at college for all of this summer’s school leavers.

*Guaranteeing lone parents an interview for available jobs and extending the days they can continue to receive benefits after starting work from 15 to 42

*Offering employers £400 training allowance to train new recruits

Mr Brown also reiterated plans to increase the number of apprenticeships to half a million by 2020, including expansion into the public sector:

“I say to trades unions in the public sector: we are ready to work with you now to expand apprenticeships into local government, the NHS and the civil service itself – as well as into new sectors of the youth labour market.

He also announced an increase of government funding for the Union Learning Fund will be increased from £12.5 million a year to £15.5 million next year.

Liz Smith, director of unionlearn, who run the Union Learning Fund, said:

“I am thrilled, as I am sure that unions will be, that the Prime Minister has increased the Union Learning Fund by three million pounds. Union learning projects all over the country, run by our 18,000 Union Learning Reps will be getting extra money to ensure that individuals who really need help back into education will be able to receive support and guidance to take those first steps back into learning. The Prime Minister has given a clear signal that union-led learning is central to the future not just of trade unions but of our country, calling union learning the biggest transformation of trades unions since the growth of the shop steward movement.”

Rosie Spowart

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