From education to employment

Regional Development Agency secures closer partnership with Learning and Skills Council

The north east’s development agency yesterday procured a £30 million funding deal which will see it drawing closer ties with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to deliver business support services to the region.

One NorthEast, the Regional Development Agency (RDA) serving Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley signed the deal with Business Link North East (BLNE), who look set to deliver the region’s business support service and the skills brokerage service under the Train to Gain brand.

Signing the agreement replaces the “Coalition of Ambition” name to the current BLNE, who will deliver the region’s development needs following extensive consultation between the development agency and the LSC; a first for the country, designed to ensure the best possible outcome for businesses in the region.

One NorthEast Chairman, Margaret Fay, said: “After an extensive and rigorous procurement process it is fantastic to get the contract signed and soon start delivering. As part of the agreement, we have made detailed plans with the Coalition to ensure that by March 2007, when the four current Business Link contracts come to an end, everything is in place for a smooth transition to the new regional service”.

“We are confident that the Coalition, under the new banner of Business Link North East, will deliver a service which ensures the highest standard of quality and support for businesses, across the whole of North East England”.

And Paul Callaghan, Chairman of BLNE, added: “I am delighted to be able to confirm our role as deliverers of Business Link and Train to Gain and announce our new name”.

Mr Callaghan continued: “We believe that our experience and track record of managing the current Business Link contracts will ensure a seamless transfer next year. We are looking forward to delivering a first class service to businesses across the North East”.

Vijay Pattni.

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