The government has committed to launching a network of 12 sector-based National Skills Academies by 2008.
Speaking at the Skills Summit 2005, hosted by the Learning and Skills Council and supported by Oracle, education secretary Ruth Kelly said the academies would prove vital in plugging skills gap in areas such as construction and engineering.
Margaret Salmon, chair of the Sector Skills Development Agency, which funds and supports the Sector Skills Councils, welcomed the announcement.
“The Skills Academies concept is very exciting, and a number of Sector Skills Councils are already working with employers in their sector to draw up plans for an academy which will meet their particular needs,” she said.
“As there is no single model for exactly what a Skills Academy should look like, employers, through their Sector Skills Council, are free to come up with innovative and creative ways of ensuring that their Skills Academy designs and delivers programmes which meet their needs.”
The first four National Skills Academies – including retail and construction – will be announced this autumn and will open from autumn 2006. By 2008, a network of 12 sector-led academies will be up and running.