News roundup

This month’s news roundup.

Byers voices concern at training past

The UK’s history of supporting training is not something to be proud of,
Secretary of State for Trade & Industry Stephen Byers said last month.

He was speaking at Putting Training at the Heart of Business, a one-day
conference organised by Training and The Industrial Society as part of the
TD2000 campaign.

He said employers need to invest more in training to remain competitive and
meet the challenge of the new economy. "The first industrial revolution
required investment in plant and machinery. The new revolution based on
knowledge requires an investment in training," he said.

Byers said many employers have cut their spending on training and reduced
the time off for staff to develop skills. "This is a matter of great
concern," he added.

New Deal report

The Training Standards Council has published the first inspection reports on
the New Deal initiative. TSC chief inspector David Sherlock said although the
New Deal has made a good start and is general well regarded by participants,
more work still needs to be done on the way the initiative is managed on the
ground. He added, "Employment outcomes from the options should be better
than they usually are."

The reports are available at www.tsc.gov.uk

UfI news

BT has become the first major company to announce a decision to use and
network UfI learning materials across its entire organisation. Employees will
have access to UfI’s learning materials alongside BT’s own training materials
as part of the BT Academy from the autumn when UfI goes into full national
operation.

A one-month TV campaign by UfI’s learndirect brand started on 19 March. The
£5m campaign is aimed at stimulating demand for learning.

The three adverts will reach 86 per cent of the TV viewing population of
England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Learning at Work Day

This year’s Learning at Work Day will take place on Thursday 25 May. As well
as encouraging employers to organise the usual "learning lunch hours"
and workplace reading groups, this year’s event will incorporate a National Job
Swap Day organised in conjunction with totaljobs.com.

For more information see www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk or contact the
Learning at Work Day call centre on 0117-966 7755

Give, give, give

Volunteer work by employees could become a major element in personal
development following a speech last month by the Prime Minister in which he
encouraged people to give more time to charitable causes.

Tony Blair said he intends to lead by example, and was giving every member
of the Number 10 staff the chance to have a day’s paid leave to take part in
voluntary charitable activities.

Sainsbury’s is also reported to have signed up to a scheme to give its staff
time off to work in the community. Cabinet Secretary Sir Richard Wilson will be
encouraging all government departments to give their employees a day each year
to volunteer.

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