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Home > News > July 2005 > 13-Jul-2005

Improve launches skills passport scheme

Green Card - the UK-wide skills passport scheme for the food and drink sector - officially went live on 1 July.

Developed by Improve, the food and drink Sector Skills Council, the scheme aims to provide a record of skills achievements by every employee in the sector. Improve says the data will be accredited, centrally-held, and accessible through the internet.

After a period of testing and consultation, the scheme is now being presented to employers, colleges, training providers and employment agencies throughout the UK. Representatives from 10 colleges, including the six Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) in food and drink manufacturing were among delegates at the first formal launch of the Green Card, held at Improve's UK headquarters in York.

"It's important that the colleges are on board as verifiers, and we will be spending more time working with them to ensure the scheme fits with their procedures," said Improve's development director Derek Williams.

"The overall response to the Green Card has been extremely positive We are in discussions with a number of major employers who want to be among the first to adopt the scheme, as well as many of the leading commercial training providers who are keen to become official verifiers of skills achievements.

“We hope soon to be announcing the first formal commitments to join the scheme from leading organisations within the food and drink manufacturing sector."

According to Improve, the Green Card scheme will work as follows:

* Employees are to be issued with a Green Card, in the form of a credit-card-sized pass. It will contain the holder's name, a unique number and a photograph. Holders will be able to use the number to access the record of achievement via the Improve web site. With the employee's permission, employers or accredited training providers will also be able to access the information.

* Accredited training providers will supply updated information to the database as the holder reaches additional levels of skill or achieves additional qualifications. Employers will be able to access the information in order to verify the skills of prospective employees and to plan personal development programmes for their staff.

* The information held will be transferable from one employer to another. When moving to a new job, employees will be able to demonstrate that they will not have to repeat training unnecessarily.

* To qualify for a Green Card employees must have relevant skills achievements, which vary depending on the type of job they do. New entrants to the sector, such as school and college leavers, the unemployed, career changers, and migrant workers, will be required to undergo mandatory, entry-level training modules, in subjects such as food hygiene and health and safety, before gaining their Green Card.

Improve says they will work with the operators of existing employer and regional skills records schemes in the food and drink sector so that their schemes can be endorsed as satisfying the Improve Green Card standard. The skills and qualifications data can then be entered on the central Improve Green Card record of achievement.

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