Learning and Skills Council to deliver £1bn free skills advice and subsidised training programme

A £1bn scheme that offers employers free advice on the skills needs of their business, as well as subsidised training, is to be rolled out across the UK this month by the government.

The Train to Gain programme will be managed and delivered by the Learning and Skills Council and gives employers access to a free Skills Broker service, offering independent and practical advice to match training needs with training providers.

The service will also offer fully subsidised training, delivered at a time and place to suit employers with low-skilled staff to train them up to level 2 qualification, and further support for progression to level 3.

Train to Gain aims to help 50,000 employers and 350,000 employees a year to boost productivity and competitiveness and improve the life chances for low-skilled employees.

Education and skills secretary, Alan Johnson, said Train to Gain puts employers at the heart of the drive to close skills gaps and boost productivity.

“Training providers will ensure that top quality training is adapted to the needs of employers and their staff and is delivered in a targeted and flexible way within the workplace, from basic reading and maths up to key technician level and beyond,” he said.

“Education does not and should not stop when people leave school or college – people must be able to tap into education throughout life, whether it is academic, trade, basic or vocational,” Johnson added.

The recent interim Leitch report painted a damning picture of the shortfall of skills in the UK. It revealed that more than one-third of adults of working age in the UK do not have a basic school-leaving qualification, and five million adults have no qualifications at all.

The report also showed that one in six adults does not have the literacy skills expected of an 11-year-old, while half do not have equivalent levels of functional numeracy. It concluded that UK skills levels will continue to compare poorly in an increasingly globalised market, and there is a risk that this will undermine the UK’s long-term prosperity.

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