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Home > News > July 2004 > 27-Jul-2004

Government licences health sector skills body

The Government has launched Skills for Health, a new organisation to tackle skills issues within the NHS and health sector workforce.

Skills for Health is the latest of the licensed Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) - first announced in the government’s Skills Strategy White Paper in 2003. It is an independent organisation, licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills Charles Clarke and supported by the Department of Health, created to improve skills within the health sector workforce.

Skills for Health is charged with working with employers in health to identify skills shortages and gaps within the sector’s workforce. One of its primary tasks is to develop a Sector Skills Agreement between the health sector employers, the Government and the Learning and Skills Council.

"Skills for Health is the latest of the newly licensed SSCs which together form the Skills for Business network", said Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP announcing the launch. "Improving the skills of Britain’s workforce is central to the continued success of the United Kingdom and Skills for Health is pivotal to improving skills within the health sector. The government is committed to working with employers through the network of SSCs, to identify the needs of employers and deliver an integrated strategy to help employers. The licence of Skills for Health will give a voice to employers throughout the health sector. Through Skills for Health, employers will be able to demand training and education resources that are specifically designed to meet the personal development needs of those who work in the sector."

The government minister for health, John Reid said: "We welcome today’s launch of Skills for Health as a significant step to improving and developing the delivery of health services in England and throughout the UK. We are committed to improving the quality of services delivered to the population and investment in skills lies at the heart of these improvements. Millions of people in the UK dedicate their lives to improving the health of the nation, throughout the NHS and independent and voluntary sector. It is vital that we invest in these people and that their invaluable contribution is rewarded with the best education and training that is specifically tailored to their needs.

"Skills for Health will represent employers throughout the health sector, understanding their skills requirements, identifying gaps and shortages in the existing training infrastructure, and shaping the delivery of future skills investment. Through the Sector Skills Agreements, employers across the whole sector will be able to articulate and communicate their wants and needs and influence the education and training delivered through both the public and private sectors."

Commenting on the launch, John Rogers, Chief Executive of Skills for Health said: "We are delighted to receive the licence from the Secretary of State and become the SSC for health. During our development we have been working in partnership with employers throughout the sector to identify skills needs within each area of the sector. Coinciding with our launch, we are publishing our latest four National Competency Frameworks in Public Health, Children, Older People and Emergency Care. Each of these has been developed with the leading experts in the particular field and defines the skills needs of each area. These frameworks focus on patient need, and provide the basis for multi-professional team working and the up-skilling of our wider workforce. They will form the ‘common language’ for us to define the education and training needs of all our partners in the sector."

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