From education to employment

New National Skills Academy for Construction announced

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to invest over £9 billion in a London based regeneration project between now and 2011 through successful implementation of Learning and Skills Council’s skills initiatives in a bid to equip local people of Thames Gateway area with necessary skills for better employment.

At a meeting in the Thames Gateway Forum, Mr Brown revealed that the Olympic site in East London will become the National Skills Academy’s hub for Construction. The project, largest of its kind in Europe, will aim to secure jobs, better education, transport schemes and affordable homes for around 190,000 local people of Thames Gateway. He added that the Thames Gateway Skills Plan designed by LSC will also endow adults with skills needed to fill new jobs.

Mr. Brown said, “£ 1.6 billion will be invested in teaching and learning and £850 million in building new further education facilities.

“The Creative Way lifelong learning network will generate hundreds of extra student places for local residents with vocational qualifications.”

He explained that the National Skills Academy, a £90 million employer-led and skills-delivering network across Britain, will create at least 1,000 job placements for people enrolled on local FE construction courses along with 1,000 other training placements and more than 500 apprenticeship places for local residents. It will also help them secure on-site positions. The accredited qualifications in skills introduced by the NSA will include scaffolding, steel erecting and plant operations. In fact, 10 to 15 per cent of the Olympic Park construction workforce will be from the five local boroughs. If the project goes well, around 13,500 apprenticeships and at least 10,000 college places will be created for the public across the Gateway area.

According to London LSC’s regional director, David Hughes, this project and 2012 Olympic Games will not only benefit the country’s economy but will also bestow skills on people, thus ensuring a better future.

He said, “We are delighted the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has committed to the Olympic park becoming a site for the National Skills Academy for Construction.

“The LSC is also investing record amounts in revitalising the FE estate across the Thames Gateway to ensure that learning is delivered in state-of-the art facilities.”

The LSC spends over £1 billion in London each year to fund 16 education and training posts and to raise overall skills levels.

Rinku Chatterjee

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