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Government watch: November announcements: ILA take up, rail training ‘an urgent need’….


This is the second in our monthly series briefing you with the lastest news and reports from the UK government as they affect the training and development world.

23 November:Malcolm Wicks has announced that 430,000 Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) have been opened to date, but that information on employer contributions to the scheme was not being collected on a routine basis. In a written response to parliament, he also stated that a survey of ILA holders would be carried out and made available in the spring.

21 November: Lifelong Learning Minister Malcolm Wicks says that training for people working in the rail industry urgently needs to be improved. In a letter to Sir Alastair Morton, Chairman of the shadow Strategic Rail Authority, Wicks expresses his concern that very few rail employees currently gain nationally recognized qualifications - only 24 NVQs were awarded to train drivers (a workforce of over 15,000) in the four years to 30 June 2000 - and wants to see clear training and skills targets built into the franchises of the train operating companies, as well as into the plans of Railtrack. He envisages a partnership between the rail authority and the new Learning and Skills Council to oversee the targets.

16 November: Lifelong Learning Minister Malcolm Wicks announces an increase in the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 215,000, which the government says is the highest number on the scheme since 1993.

9 November: The Chancellor of the Exchequer announces in his pre-budget report that the New Deal scheme is to be expanded to cover more lone parents and an enhanced service to the long-term unemployed.

9 November: There will be a review of training across the haulage industry as part of a package of measures announced in the pre-budget report.

7 November: At a CBI conference, Gordon Brown urges businesses to forge greater links with schools in order to develop awareness of business among young people.

6 November: Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish announces the appointment of new ministers for education and lifelong learning as part of his first Cabinet.

3 November: The Department for Education and Employment announces details of a new qualification framework for the Further Education sector.

2 November: A cap has been imposed on the amount of discount Individual Learning Account holders can claim for IT and maths courses.

Click here for October's Government Watch.


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