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Government launches new centres to help businesses develop


The government has unveiled new plans to help industry become more competitive and grow regionally by creating new formal partnerships between business and education and creating new dedicated study centres for ICT skills training.

Among the schemes outlined in the White Paper, 'Opportunitity for all in a world of change', is a plan to develop University Innovation Centres, which will be formed through partnerships between universities, colleges and business. Centres will involve companies such as BAe and Proctor & Gamble in the North East and Hewlett Packard in Bristol.

The government also plans to set up new Technology Institutes in different regions to help to develop IT and other new technology skills, in particular for SMEs. The Institutes will aim to train up to 10,000 people each year.

The White Paper also outlines plans to provide other support to businesses, including a £75 million incubator fund to support start-ups and growth businesses, targeted support for the manufacturing industry through a new Manufacturing Advisory Service and a Job Transition Services to help those affected by redundancy. There's also more funding to promote research into technology and money to promote and develop the use of broadband and digital TV technologies.
David Blunkett
The initiative was jointly unveiled by Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and David Blunkett, Education and Employment Secretary, who said:

'A well-trained and highly-skilled workforce is an essential base for this country’s economic success. The measures we are setting out today will mean that our companies can compete in the global market place, and we will have a generation of workers equipped with the skills that they need for the future. The University Innovation Centres will boost research and development. The Technology Institutes will ensure a supply of hi-tech skills, especially to smaller businesses that need this expertise most. Together they will mark a significant change by driving forward skills improvements and regional economic development.'

A pamphlet, 'Opportunity and Skills in the Knowledge Driven Economy' has also been published to accompany the White Paper, which gives the Education and Employment Secretary's final statement on the work of the Skills Task Force published last June. In it, he highlights the priorities for putting in place the National Skills Agenda as strengthening the NTO network, improving the match of people and their skills to jobs, increasing access to vocational education for young people and promoting support for learning in the workplace.


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