Tony Blair calls for national skills strategy

A
new national skills strategy is the way to increase the skills of the nation’s
workforce and the country’s productivity, the Prime Minister has said.

"Better
skills mean better productivity, and higher incomes for all," Tony Blair
said as he welcomed a Strategy Unit action plan to increase skills training and
development over the next five years.

The
plan will put the needs of employers and individuals at the heart of
policy-making.

Blair
said: "A workforce with the right blend of skills helps to create and
sustain vibrant and successful businesses – the bedrock of national economic
success.

"For
too long skills development has been based on what is provided – not what is
needed. I believe that for the Government to deliver improvements, public
services have to be rebuilt around the needs of customers."

The
strategy focuses on three main objectives:


raising demand for workforce development from employers and individuals


ensuring suppliers meet that demand speedily with high quality training,
including a review of the further education funding system


developing the right government framework to support workforce development,
including a trail to pool budgets between Regional Development Agencies and
local Learning and Skills Councils so that spending at regional level is
co-ordinated and efficiently targeted

The
National Skills Strategy "Success for all" is planned for publication
in June 2003.

By Paul Nelson

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