Blunkett urges employers to invest in staff

Employers must support the development of their employees, Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett told business chiefs.

At the 40th Anniversary Ashridge Lecture at the Institute of Directors in London, Blunkett advocated the University for Industry – a Government initiative that aims to encourage lifelong learning by making high quality learning programmes accessible to everyone at times and locations to fit their lifestyles, including in the workplace.

He said, "Employers must support the development of their employees, for the benefit of individuals, companies and the nation as a whole. The University for Industry will provide information and advice about learning opportunities to up to 2.5 million people a year by 2002 and aims to create a demand for up to a million courses by 2004."

Blunkett said this would dovetail with the Individual Learning Accounts launched earlier this month to encourage people to plan and invest in their own learning.

The first million accounts include £150 donations from Training and Enterprise Councils and Chambers of Commerce, said Blunkett. Employers are also being encouraged to contribute to their employees’ accounts.

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By Lisa Bratby

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