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Home > News > January 2007 > 18 January 2007

Government invites bids for National Skills Academy expansion

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) with its partners, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) and Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), have invited employers to work together to expand the National Skills Academy network.

The network was launched by Alan Johnson MP, secretary of state for education and skills, in October 2006. It aims to drive up skills levels and productivity in England by delivering the skills required by each major sector of the economy.

The new prospectus launched this week is for the third round of National Skills Academies, which are expected to open in 2008.

Chris Banks, chairman of the Learning and Skills Council said: "It is a fact that having a motivated and skilled workforce improves the productivity of individuals and the performance of business overall.

"National Skills Academies put employers right at the heart of developing high-quality and relevant training programmes to improve the skills of the workforce for their own sector. The commitment of so many top employers to date has been impressive; this is because the National Skills Academies provide a golden opportunity for employers and Government to work together and build a Britain of enterprise and opportunity."

The Government aims to have 12 National Skills Academies up and running by 2008. So far, the Government has approved National Skills Academies for the construction, financial services and manufacturing industries, whilst food and drink is at an advanced stage of development. In October 2006, the second round of National Skills Academies were announced for the nuclear, process industries, creative and cultural and hospitality sectors, which are expected to be open this year.

The new prospectus is available online at www.nationalskillsacademy.co.uk and expressions of interest must be lodged by 5 March 2007. The LSC says employers should contact their Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) or the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) in the first instance, to co-ordinate an expression of interest, after which a formal bidding process will commence.

Skills minister, Phil Hope MP said: "This prospectus sets out challenging criteria for National Skills Academies proposals to meet. We have set high standards but the prize is great and this flagship programme will play a key part in creating jobs, tackling skills shortages and driving up productivity.

"The Leitch Review of Skills recognises the role that the National Skills Academies will play raising demand for skills from employers and learners. Employers have the critical role to play as sponsors, providing a clear vision, strong strategic leadership and funds for sustainable development."

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