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Government cash boost sees five new National Skills Academies in the pipeline


The UK government has unveiled plans to set up five new National Skills Academies in priority industry sectors and has set up a £50 million Joint Investment Programme to match employer funding levels.

Some 13 other Academies have already been set up as part of the government’s ‘New Industry, New Jobs’ strategy, but all have so far been funded by business to the tune of more than £130 million.
The Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said at his scheduled update to the scheme, which took place at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London yesterday: “Ambitious government projects like High Speed Rail and new civil nuclear power need a range of new skills to make them a reality. We are investing in the industries where employers’ need is greatest.”
The new Academies will cover rail engineering; logistics; green building services; biotechnology and composites. They will be funded by £12 million of public money that will also be matched by the private sector and are expected to train more than 30,000 people over the next four years.
An Academy for Power is likewise about to open for business and is being financed by £2.9 million from government and £3.9 million from business. It will be led by the Sector Skills Council for Energy and Utility Skills and is being backed by 15 employers, which include E.on, EDF Energy and National Grid.
As part of a commitment to provide 35,000 advanced and higher apprenticeships to people aged between 19 and 30, the government also intends to co-fund 1,000 places per year for the nuclear industry, subject to employer demand and the availability of training.
The Learning and Skills Council has likewise just approved the creation of a Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy based in Illford, London, which will be run by Crossrail. It will receive £5 million in public money to provide training for up to 1,800 people per annum.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, meanwhile, has said that it plans to open a “next generation” careers advice service in England as of August this year. The aim of the service, which will be rebranded, is to provide both employers and workers with better information about the labour market.
It will also devise a new professional development framework for career advisors and provide new tools to help adult workers plan their career development.

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