Government to pay employers encouraging learning

Employees
are to get time off to improve their basic skills as part of a package of
training measures announced in the Budget.

The
Government is investing £40m in a pilot scheme that rewards employers for
giving staff time off to improve qualifications.

The
scheme will operate in six Learning and Skills Council areas and is to target staff
who lack basic skills roughly equivalent to GCSE level.

The
LSC will identify volunteer organisations from the private and public sector
that are willing to release low-skilled employees during work time.

The
pilot will offer employers between 75 – 125 per cent of the wage costs of
participating staff and will be paid as grants.

It’s
anticipated the grants will be replaced by a new tax credit system if the
scheme goes national after the pilot finishes in August 2003.

Education
and Skills Secretary Estelle Morris said the move underlines the Government’s
commitment to lifelong learning and reducing the skills gap: "Stepping
back from the skills agenda is not an option. Our present and future economic
performance depends on creating a culture of lifelong learning in the
workplace.

"The
measures set out in the Budget will help to ensure that we offer workplace
learning that meets the demands of employees and employers," she said.

The
six pilot areas are: Birmingham and Solihull; Derbyshire; Essex; Greater
Manchester; Tyne and Wear and Wiltshire and Swindon.

www.dfes.gov.uk

www.lsc.gov.uk

By Ross Wigham

 

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