• A UK training college for the 13,000 staff at waste management company Onyx and rail firm Connex has been set up by French parent company CGEA. An annual £1.6m has been committed to train operational staff to encourage them to stay within the group and progress their careers. "We have a regional manager at Onyx who started off as a street cleaner. We want to give our operational staff the opportunity to develop their skills," said college director Pierre-Marie Maurin. A programme of courses, starting at NVQ level 2 and culminating in an MBA, is being developed in conjunction with the personnel departments of both companies. The college in Taplow, Buckinghamshire has provided induction courses since last September.
New Deal finds jobs for over 169,000 people
• Over 169,000 people have been found jobs through the New Deal, Employment Minister Tessa Jowell announced on 30 December. The figure includes 18 to 24-year-olds and the long-term unemployed aged over 25 since the scheme was introduced in April 1998. The number of young people who have received training or work experience is 107,800. The environment task force has taken on 22,900 while 24,000 have worked for the voluntary sector and 60,800 have been in full-time education and training.
West Midlands sets up on-line learning lab
• Businesses in the West Midlands have linked up with Wolverhampton University to form a centre of excellence for developing on-line training. The Learning Lab has received £300,000 from business to kick-start the on-line learning revolution. Business could save £822m a year, according to the centre if it switched its training on to computers. The centre was opened by education minister Michael Wills.
By Philip Whiteley