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First employer skills summit to take place at NTO conference


Employers, members of the National Training Organisation (NTO) network, key partner organisations, government ministers and experts will be gathering next week to meet to discuss the role of employers in driving forward a new National Skills Agenda proposed by the government.

Meeting at the NTO annual conference on 17 and 18 October will be members of the National Training Organisations, who have government recognition as representatives of 75 different industry sectors on skills, training and development issues.

The government has said it is keen to involve employers more in influencing the design and delivery of education and training, backing up the recommendations made by the National Skills Task Force.

The Government’s Learning to Succeed white paper, published in June last year, defined a key role for NTOs in ensuring that education and training deliver the skills needed by employers. The objective of every NTO is to improve current and future competitiveness by improving workforce competence.

It is the first time employers have been brought together in this way. Day one of the conference will be devoted to an Employer Skills Summit chaired by Garry Hawkes, Chair of the NTO National Council, looking at a case study from Ford Motor Company, hosting a skills question time session and focus groups, with a speech from Will Hutton of the Industrial Society. One of the opening sessions will include a video address from David Blunkett, although there will be no chance to discuss things directly with the DfEE until Malcolm Wicks gives a keynote adress on the last day. Shadow education and employment spokespeople Theresa May and Phil Willis will also be speaking.

The primary role of the NTOs includes skills assessment needs in each sector, developing plans to develop the workforce, improving the uptake of work-based learning and apprenticeships and promoting best practice in learning across organisations. The new Learning and Skills Bill passed earlier this summer should help to provide additional guidance on how the role of the NTOs should change in line with the introduction of the new Learning And Skills Council.


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