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Home > News > December 2003 > 10-Dec-2003

£190 million boost for skills training

The Government's drive to improve the skills of the nation's workforce was given a multi-million pound boost as Education Secretary Charles Clarke today welcomed the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report.

Over 2004-05 and 2005-06, further investment will be channelled into workforce training, as the Pre-Budget Report outlined a £190 million boost to the successful Employer Training Pilot programme, extending the scheme to give free training to low-skilled workers in twelve current pilot areas for a further year, and expanding it to operate in six new areas.

Mr Clarke said, "Employer Training Pilots are reaching the employers and employees that traditional training programmes have never reached. Higher skills levels benefit the employee with improved pay and prospects, the employer with a more efficient workforce, and the economy as a whole with improved productivity."

Employer Training Pilots offer funding to employers to enable them to provide time off for their employees to take up free or subsidised tuition to improve their basic skills and qualifications. Recent evaluation shows that, in the initial six pilot areas, over 14,000 low- skilled workers from 3,000 employers have already benefited from training they would otherwise not have received. The scheme particularly benefits small firms, traditionally an area where training has not been a high priority.

Employer Training Pilots are currently running in Birmingham and Solihull, Derbyshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Wiltshire and Swindon, Berkshire, East London, Kent, Leicester, Shropshire and South Yorkshire. The six new pilot areas will be announced shortly. £120 million of the money announced for Employer Training Pilots is new resource and comes from the Windfall Tax
reserve, the remaining £70 million is carry over from this financial year.

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