The skills bus rumbles on, despite the planned closure of the Learning and Skills Council. The government has announced that the number of employees covered by the skills pledge has passed 3.3 million.
NHS South West is the latest employer to sign up, joining Shell, BP, utility Scottish & Southern Energy and disability employer Remploy, who also signed up in the New Year.
The pledge fulfils a key recommendation made in the Leitch Review of Skills, published in December 2006, by committing organisations to supporting their employees while they study for a minimum Level 2 qualification (GCSE equivalent).
All 41 NHS trusts in the South West have pledged to support their employees to develop their literacy and numeracy skills by signing the agreement.
John Denham, secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, called on employers across the South West to sign the pledge.
“Every employee has the potential to contribute to the long-term performance of organisations, but this potential can only be unlocked if every employee can access high-quality training,” he said.
Sir Ian Carruthers, chief executive of NHS South West, said: “Our decision to sign the skills pledge underlines our commitment to improving skills and opportunities for the 115,000 people working for the NHS in the region. It shows we are focused on developing a skilled workforce which provides an unrivalled level of healthcare service in the South West.”