From education to employment

Government says investment will mean 7.5 million extra training places

The Government today announced investment plans to increase the number of training places and apprenticeships.

At the centre of the programme is a major expansion of apprenticeships with over £1billion in funding to increase overall places to more than 400,000 by 2010/11, provided high quality employer places are available said the Government.

For the first time, funding will be targeted specifically at expanding apprenticeships for adults aged over 25. This will mean 30,000 additional such apprenticeships over the next three years.

John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills said: “For millions of people, skills and learning are the key to improving their lives ““ whether getting into and on at work, improving job prospects or simply putting more money into their pockets.

“For the country, skills and learning are the key to remaining globally competitive.

“Today’s announcement amounts to a kick-start of the Government’s drive to put Britain in the premier league for skills. This work will help ensure the future economic competitiveness of the country. It will raise aspirations, improve life chances and strengthen our families and communities.”

The Government was setting out its priorities and funding for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), outlining the first stage in its longer term strategy to meets the challenges set out by the Leitch review of skills.

Julian Gravatt, Association of Colleges Director of Funding and Development welcomed the announcement: “There’s £1billion extra set out in John Denham and Ed Ball’s budget statement and that has to be good news. The money comes hand in hand with tough targets.

“Many of the main challenges that Government have set out will need the support of employers. There are many more people wanting to become apprentices, for example, than work placements available for them. We need more businesses to back the scheme.

But the Conservatives questioned the figures put forward in today’s announcement. David Willetts, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said: “Just six months ago, Gordon Brown stood outside Number 10 promising to restore trust in Government. Now he’s promised to create seven million new training places, three quarters of which turn out not to be new at all. When is he going to learn to stop treating the British people like fools?”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Sarah Teather MP said: “If these apprenticeships aren”t work-based, they will amount to nothing more than watered-down gimmicks.

“Employers simply aren”t coming forward to train unskilled people. Much more must to be done to encourage businesses to take on apprentices, and ministers must explain how they intend to do this.

Related Articles