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Business leaders to be largest group on new Learning and Skills Councils


From a DfEE press release:

Business leaders will be the largest single group in the Learning and Skills Council network, the Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett announced today. He said that forty per cent of the members of the Learning and Skills Council and its local arms, together with the national chair and a majority of local chairs will be people with substantial recent business or commercial experience..

The Learning and Skills Council and the network of local councils will be set up in 2001 to fund further education and take forward government funded training and workforce development in England with a budget of some £5 billion. The LSC is planned to succeed the Training and Enterprise Councils which currently spend £1 billion on training and the Further Education Funding Council which currently spends over £3 billion on further education. The enterprise role of TECs is to be taken forward by the DTI’s Small Business Service.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr Blunkett said:

"I believe that the business-led Local Learning and Skills Councils will be sensitive to local demands and will deliver the high the quality skills and training which firms need. I have listened carefully to business representations about the proposals and I have responded to their concerns. I also expect key decisions about the delivery of national learning and training arrangements to be driven from bottom up rather than top down.

"The Local Learning and Skills will have budgetary control for work-based training providers and will agree allocations to Further Education sector colleges. They will be able to vary national funding tariffs locally. They will also fund workforce development and have a portfolio of services for local employers. I will publish shortly details of how the Learning and Skills Council will operate at national and local level.

"Raising standards and delivering high quality training, including national learning targets, will be central to the success of the LSC. I am putting in place a rigorous new inspection system, based on existing expertise with work-based training, to help drive up quality.

"We have the opportunity now to set up a new organisation with a coherent structure and a common culture. These changes will result in savings of some £50 million a year which can be put into front line services. I expect the LSC to cut through the duplication, confusion and bureaucracy in the current system. It will create a system driven by the needs of learners, not suppliers. We want a system that will ensure that money reaches the learner rather than being tied up in administration".

Mr Blunkett also announced today, jointly with Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers, the boundaries for the local Learning and Skills Councils and the franchises of the new Small Business Service. There will be 47 local Learning and Skills Councils and 45 Small Business Service franchises, in most cases covering the same areas.

Mr Blunkett also announced that Coventry will be the location of the Headquarters of the Learning and Skills Council and of the new Adult Learning Inspectorate.


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