£46m boost for Sector Skills Councils

UK
employers are set to receive a £46m skills boost, thanks to extra investment in
Skills for Business, the UK-wide network of employer-led Sector Skills Councils
(SSCs).

Designed
to ensure that each SSC is as effective as possible in the employers’ message
across on skills, the investment package, funded by the Sector Skills
Development Agency (SSDA), and the Department for Education and Skills, will
mean up to an extra £2m will be available to each SSC.

The
complete network of 23 fully-licensed SSCs is expected to be established by
next summer.

Each
SSC is responsible for identifying the skills gaps within its sector and
working with employers to meet their needs. SSCs will also play a key role in
the delivery of the Government’s skills strategy by helping to make the UK’s
education and training system more responsive to the needs of employers.

Margaret
Salmon, chairwoman of the SSDA said: "This is about fundamentally changing
the way skills are demanded, delivered and developed throughout the UK.

"For
a long time, employers have complained that their workforces don’t have the
skills they need to really deliver their business objectives. Now, through the
Skills for Business network, employers can work together with others in their
sector to really make a difference to the education and training system to
ensure they have the skills their organisation needs to succeed."

The
funding package for each SSC consists of:


an increase in core funding from £3m to £4m during the initial three-year SSC
contract


up to £0.5m per SSC to help develop a sector skills agreement


up to £0.5m per SSC as a one-off sector investment package.

The
additional funding will be available to each SSC as it receives its full five-year
licence from education and skills minister Charles Clarke, with those SSCs
already in receipt of licences expected to receive their allocation first.

Speaking
last night at the annual Skills for Business chairs’ dinner in London last
night, skills minister Ivan Lewis said: "Sector Skills Councils are at the
heart of delivering the vision we outlined in our Skills Strategy White Paper
this summer. I am very pleased that we have been able to demonstrate our
commitment to the employer voice in the demand for skills by making additional
resources available to the Skills for Business network."

By Quentin Reade

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