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News round-up: A-levels, skills plan and birthday congratulations

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Lost somewhere in a pile of dirty nappies and sleep-deprivation I was sad not to be here for TrainingZone's 10th birthday, but I was cheered on to find out that this site is not the only L&D institution to hit double figures this year. The Training Foundation (I know it was officially last month, but forgive me I've been away) has also made its first decade and what a decade it has been. With unrelenting drive and determination, Nick Mitchell and Adrian Snook et al have pushed the Trainer Accreditation Programme to the heights it has reached today. Congratulations to The Training Foundation, and I can't wait to see what they will achieve in the next decade.

There must have been celebrations also at Ufi this week, with the news that it was graded as good in its first Ofsted report.

We hear so much about aligning learning to business goals and yet there often seems to be the sense at board level that training is a 'nice to have' rather than an imperative. It was refreshing, therefore, to hear about Munters developing in-house degrees for its staff. The global company says it aims to actively encourage the development of employees in order to promote from within and ensure employees skills are ready to meet the current and future business objectives of the company and its clients. No accident it made the 'Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For' list then.

Meanwhile A level passes are up again, but is industry getting the skills it needs? The CBI has put together its own action plan to increase the number of school pupils qualifying in the less popular STEM (science, technology and maths) subjects.

Across the pond, with the Presidential race heating up, Ken Blanchard and the Centre for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School want to see focus shift a little from policy towards leadership credentials. The pairing consulted 200 leading thinkers, offering them the tantalising prospect of coming up with 15 questions for Barak Obama and John McCain. Now that's an interview panel to separate the wheat from the chaff.

You'll find more nuggets in news in brief and at the TrainingZone news page.

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