From education to employment

Sixth industry to join the network.

On the one-year anniversary for National Skills Academies, it was announced that the network is now half way towards its 2008 target of twelve Academies nationwide.

Minister for Skills, David Lammy, announced the latest sector to enter the network is the Process Industry, which joins existing National Skills Academies in the Construction, Financial Services, Food and Drink Manufacturing, Nuclear and Manufacturing sectors.

The National Skills Academy network, a unique structure of employer-led centres of excellence for sector training, was developed by the Learning and Skills Council with the support of its partners in Government and industry to address the fact that 16% of businesses in the UK are experiencing skills gaps in their workforce.

Speaking from the LINPAC headquarters ““ a key employer backing the National Skills Academy for Process Industries and an industry leader in packaging and materials handling, the Minister stated: “The Process Industries covering Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Polymers, are hugely important to our prosperity, contributing £23bn of value added to our economy.

“Getting the sectors productivity and competitiveness up to world class standards means meeting employers needs and this Skills Academy will play a big part in that.”

Other employers supporting the National Skills Academy include Glaxo Smith Kline, BASF plc, SembCorp Utilities UK, Invista Performance Technologies, Johnson Matthey, Innospec Specialty Chemicals, Banner Chemicals Ltd and Solutia UK Limited.

Cogent, the Sector Skill Council that covers the Process Industry, supports the development of the new National Skills Academy. Cogent research shows this science-using manufacturing sector needs thousands of suitably qualified science graduates and multi-skilled technicians if it is to succeed and compete in the global economy.

Over 50 employer organisations have pledged financial support totalling £850,000 to establish the Academy, which is expected to increase as employers see the Academy meeting their skills needs.

To date, employers representing 12% of the sector (and in total 50,000 employees) have committed to using Academy products and services through Academy approved centres to address the skills development of their workforce. It is anticipated that at least 16,000 learners will undertake training and development via the Academy over the next five years.

Saika Ahmed

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