Government unveils national skills academies for financial services, manufacturing and construction

The government has launched three national skills academies to drive up the standard of industry training, improve productivity and tackle skills shortages.

The academies that have been approved and will shortly become operational are in financial services, construction and manufacturing.

A fourth, representing the food and drink sector is close to being approved.

Bids for skills academies from the nuclear industry, chemical industry, the hospitality sector and creative and cultural industries have also been accepted by the government.

These sectors will now be invited to produce business plans ready for the next stage in the process.

The aim is to have up to 12 academies operational by 2008 and the government is investing £90m in the programme, which will be delivered through the Learning and Skills Council working with employers and their sector skills councils.

Through the academies employers will be at the heart of the development of qualifications.

They will also provide some of the capital funding for the academies, as well as equipment know-how and industry insight.

Employer sponsorship will fund about 50% of the capital costs of a National Skills Academy, about 35% will come from the government and the remainder from other sources such as European funding.

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