From education to employment

Brown and Johnson urge companies to sign skills pledge

The Government is to urge employers to sign up to a “skills pledge” later today. Gordon Brown will join forces with the Education Minister Alan Johnson to launch the scheme, calling on businesses to take the voluntary pledge to improve the skills of their workforce. Employers from the public and private sectors are expected to sign up for the scheme.

Skills Envoy Sir Digby Jones has branded the lack of basic skills in Britain’s workforce as a “shameful and unspoken secret.”

He pointed out that there are seven million adults who are “functionally illiterate” and 11 million who cannot add up two three figure numbers.

He said the social and economic cost of an unskilled adult population is “fundamentally damaging to Britains chance of winning in the 21st century”.

He said: “This summer, after 11 years of full-time, compulsory education, virtually all of which will have been on this governments watch, half of those taking GCSEs will not get Grade C or above in English and Maths.This is an unacceptable, national disgrace.”

The skills pledge was one of the recommendations put forward in the Leitch Report. It said the pledge should be a specific promise from employers to its workforce that every eligible employee would be helped to gain basic skills and a level 2 qualification.

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