Train to Gain tops 100,000 companies as B&Q signs up

Home improvement retailer B&Q became the 100,000th company to sign up to Train to Gain, but employer groups say more should join.

The service, which launched in 2006 to improve skills, has helped more than 570,000 employees in England to find training and almost to 300,000 achieve a qualification.

Funding for the service will almost double from the £520m spent in 2007-08 to £1bn by 2010-11.

Lord Young, junior minister at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said: “Successful employers see up-skilling the workforce as one of the most powerful things they can do to drive their businesses forward.

“Employers who have invested in the skills of their people in the past will be better placed to respond to the economic challenges, and they will also be better placed to take advantage of the opportunities in the next period of growth.”

Martyn Philips, B&Q’s HR director, said more than one third of B&Q’s non-management employees will achieve the NVQ retail skills Level 2 award in the coming year.

“Good skills at all levels are essential to our business if we are to continue to thrive in an exceptionally competitive market and we currently invest a lot of time and effort in ensuring our staff receive the training they need to be the best at their job,” said Philips.

“Train to Gain means we can now do this even better than before and helps us to really identify our employees’ individual needs.”

In August, an HR director warned the structure of the service risked “stifling” the social care sector.

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