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NTO merger confirmed


Final confirmation that two National Training Organisations are to merge came in an announcement from the government yesterday.

Malcolm Wicks, Minister for Lifelong Learning has asked the e-skills National Training Organisation to extend its scope to cover the telecommunications and call handling sectors. The move comes in the wake of a consultation to decide the future of the telecoms NTO,, which previously represented these occupations, but which ran into financial difficulties last year after a training contract collapsed, and was placed into receivership. A proposal had earlier been put forward for the Engineering and Marine Training Authority to take over the responsibilities.

Announcing his decision, Mr Wicks said; "Major employers from the telecommunications sector have told us that their industry is increasingly reliant on specialist IT skills as technology in the IT, Communication and Electronics sectors continue to converge. Those who responded to the consultation have expressed a clear preference for e-skills NTO to be given responsibility for the sector. Together, these companies employ over 180,000 people in the UK, representing around 80 per cent of the sector's UK workforce."

He added: "The telecommunications industry is facing some serious challenges at the present time, and the development of high level skills will become increasingly important. I know that e-skills NTO, with the active support of employers, will play a key part in supporting companies to equip their workforce with the skills needed for the 21st century."

When the telecoms NTO ran into difficulties last November, it left the DfEE with a debt of £10 million. TrainingZONE contacted the DfEE to find out what happened to the debt; a spokesperson told us that the NTO was still in administration and its assets were in the process of being liquidated. The spokesperson added that the DfEE would be looking to recover some of the funding, but that it was too early to say how much this would be. The process of liquidation is expected to last 'weeks rather than months'.


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