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Government Launches First Trio of Skills Academies


The first three National Skills Academies have launched today, aimed at driving up the standard of industry training, improving productivity and tackling skills shortages across England.

The new academies are in Financial Services, Construction, and Manufacturing. A fourth, representing the Food and Drink sector is also close to being approved.

Employers will fund half the academies’ capital investment as well as equipment know-how and industry insight.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the start of the National Skills Academy programme marked a turning point in skills training that would ensure British industry remained competitive in the long term and able to respond rapidly to changing needs and demands.

The aim is to have up to 12 academies operational by 2008 and the Government is investing £90 million in the programme which will be delivered through the Learning and Skills Council working with employers and their Sector Skills Councils.

Chris Banks, Chair of the Learning and Skills Council said he envisaged the academies training tens of thousands of learners each year, with one for each sector of the economy by 2012.

“The benefits to employers are far reaching,” Banks added. “The National Skills Academy network will be another route to help ensure consistent high quality training across the country, resulting in a more highly trained and motivated workforce, with improvements to productivity and performance overall.”


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