From education to employment

The Launch of Ready for Work and Nick Mitchell, Chief Executive

The Training Foundation was formed in 1998 to empower all those involved in training and to empower others, operating the leading national skills certification programmes for career trainers. In a bold and innovative step towards preparing the future British workforce for professional employment, they have launched their Ready for Work programme, a free national online learning programme for young people entering the workplace. Nick Mitchell, the Chief Executive of The Training Foundation, took some time yesterday to talk to us about the inspiration of the programme and the future in training provision in general.

A Programme for Students

Mr. Mitchell explained a little more about the formulation of the Board of Directors of his organisation, saying that many had a background in teaching. And he is extremely excited about this programme, as it is the first programme specifically aimed at students that The Training Foundation has been involved in.

The genesis of the programme, said Mr. Mitchell, was very similar to the beginnings of others of their programmes (such as the MRSA initiative, providing online training in infection control launched in the Summer of 2004). The Training Foundation examine the marketplace and identify an area where there seems little or no training offered and invest in that area. In the case of the MRSA initiative, there was a complete absence of any national training programme to help prevent the spread of MRSA.

The programme has proven extremely successful, as Mr. Mitchell pointed out, with some 60% of the NHS now involved in the initiative in some form. With little previous experience of the areas involved, The Training Foundation managed to create a hugely successful training programme that has been recognised within the healthcare industry.

A Back To Front Approach

Mr. Mitchell went on to point out that the education system was often the victim of its own “back to front” mentality, far too focused on the past with not enough attention paid to the future and the changes that this future may entail to the educational and employment sectors. The Ready for Work programme is part of an attempt to redress the balance.

Getting ready for work and the need to train for this has, in Mr. Mitchell’s eyes, been stimulated by an increasing awareness of the growing liability that employers can often be confronted with for actions and decisions taken by their employees. Therefore, employers welcome this new training provision as it will hopefully make employees more aware of the needs of the workplace in various aspects of professionalism. As Mr. Mitchell said, the “proper induction of employees” has become “necessary” for the employers.

Connexions and the LSC Virtual Academy

Mr. Mitchell explained that there was no direct link between this training provision scheme and the Connexions service (the Government’s careers service), but stated that they enjoyed a “long standing” relationship with the DfES. The Training Foundation has a number of initiatives in place that put them in co ““ operation with the DfES, including Acce-lerator, which has proven to be hugely successful in helping to develop e ““ learning in more than a hundred colleges.

Mr. Mitchell also took this opportunity to congratulate the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for their recently announced co ““ operation with Tribal in the Virtual Academy project in London, and hopes that this will herald a beginning to a broader application of this initiative. Generally, the message from Mr. Micthell is that the future is what we will have to deal with and work with; so that is where we should focus our efforts to improve training provision.

Jethro Marsh

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