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Standards Rise at Training Awards


The number of finalists for the National Training Awards has risen by a fifth in a year.

Nearly 300 finalists from 23 industry sectors, chosen from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and nine regions across the UK, will take part in the final stages of the awards.

Dr Graeme Hall, Acting CEO of UK Skills, said that the increase in entries and finalist indicated the increasing importance of training.

"Organisations and individuals in both the private and public sector are acknowledging the increasing need to incentivise workplace training by entering themselves or their employees into awards schemes like ours," he said.

"Furthermore, the increase in the number of finalists this year shows that training standards have risen significantly, as more people are meeting the stringent criteria to qualify for the final stages of the awards."

Overall, this year, 54% of entrants are from the private sector, 28% from the public sector and 7% from the voluntary sector.

This represents a 37% rise in private sector entrants since 2003, a 21% increase in public sector entrants and a 14% increase in voluntary sector entrants.

2004 National Training Awards finalists include recognisable names such as BT, National Grid Transco, Walkers Snack Foods and BP International, however, of the organisations that have reached the final stages of the competition, 61% classify themselves as Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with fewer than 250 staff.

There has been a 40% rise since 2003 in the number of SMEs reaching the final stages, compared to a 5% rise in companies with over 250 employees. It seems that an encouraging number of smaller companies are committing time and money to training, while larger companies are preserving a steady level of investment.

Dr Hall added that while the rise in finalists was encouraging, there was still more to be done.

"Just over a year after the launch of the Government's Skills Strategy, it's encouraging to see the rise in the number of finalists. However, there is still more to do before we truly close the skills gap and have a skills base worthy of the fourth largest economy in the world.

"Training will help create a more effective, productive and flexible workforce, so our message to UK Plc is: invest in training to gain a true competitive advantage."


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