The government has promised to ensure more than 475,000 public services employees in 19 departments will have basic skills and a level two qualification.
Sir Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary and head of the Civil Service, was joined by the permanent secretaries from 14 of the central government departments at a signing ceremony today.
The pledge follows the Leitch Review, published in December, urging the UK to double its skill levels to become a ‘world leader’ by 2020.
The report called for the responsibility for achieving such aims to be shared between government, employers and individuals.
Speaking today, Sir Richard Mottram, chairman of government skills, said the 19 departments account for more than 90% of people working for central government and 1.5% of the entire UK workforce.
He said: “These departments have specifically committed to raise the skills and qualifications of their employees. This clearly signals the determination of the Civil Service to meet the skills challenge highlighted in the Leitch report on skills.
“There remains much work for us all to do in developing our action plans to implement the pledge, but today’s event provides a useful opportunity for us not only to set an example to other employers, but also to demonstrate clearly to our own staff the importance we attach to skills development now and in the future,” Mottram concluded.
Government Skills, the sector skills council, has commissioned a skills survey across the entire sector with the aim of sharing the findings with employers.