From education to employment

LSCs billion pound training programme officially unveiled

A £1 billion national training programme set to help 350,000 under-skilled employees every year was launched yesterday afternoon.

The Learning and Skills Council’s Train to Gain programme was given a national launch, with attendees including Skills Minister Phil Hope MP, senior LSC Directors, and James Cracknell OBE, Olympic Gold medallist.

Speaking on the launch, Mr Cracknell said: “It’s trying to target employers; small companies who wouldn”t normally have the time to train their employees and the good thing about it is they send a skills broker to come into a company and look at improving these skills to make your business function better. Having it can only improve the business”.

The Train to Gain scheme encompasses a skills brokerage service for businesses, providing them with an individual broker who assesses needs and pinpoints training programmes relevant for progression.

Mr Cracknell continued: “I think the difference is the person that comes in will build it around your company, so wherever possible the training that needs to be done will be done on site so you”re not losing members of staff for days at a time, and there’s no kind of big impact on you as a company”.

Citing his early days as a rower, he continued: “When I was training I was always very keen to make sure that I was progressing on other skills. I qualified to become a teacher and then I did a Masters in Sports Science and I think it’s a really key thing in business to make sure the employees are always improving themselves, not only for the business, but also for their own personal motivation as well”.

“The unfortunate thing is that there are one or two failures in the education system in the past ““ people who haven”t got the right level of literacy and numeracy in the workplace, and this is all about making sure those people have a chance to improve their skills once they”ve left school not only to benefit them but also their employers”.

Looking ahead to the 2012 Olympic Games, he added: “There’s a massive need for skilled people over the next six years in construction, infrastructure and technical support that’s going to be needed to fund and run what is the biggest sporting event in the world. We want to be able to supply all those positions from the UK and we need to make sure we have the skills pushing forward over the next six years to make sure we are at the top of those industries”.

“The only way that can happen is like building up a pyramid: if you use sportsmen you know the more people you have talking part in sport the higher your pyramid will be, the peak being the elite at the top, and that’s the same in business. The more skilled people you have, the better the best people will be because you have more to choose from”.

Also on hand was Norman Jennings, skills broker. He noted: “The role of the skills brokers is to offer impartial independent advice to the employers and in fact we”re operating on behalf of the employer and helping them to identify their training and development needs, and then more importantly, to then help them identify the solutions that maybe out there”.

“Train to Gain is there for the whole workforce and it’s really to ensure that we can help employers identify the needs of the whole workforce including people who may have needs that are below Level 2″.

He added: “By engaging with it, by allowing the employee to develop skills that they need to, in the long run that’s going to ensure that their business is more successful and therefore the whole scheme is successful”.

Jason Seebaruth.

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