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Local Employer Networks

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Paymaster General how many local employer networks are now in operation.

The response from employers, employer organisations and others to this important initiative has been encouraging. Contracts have been exchanged for the first six networks and a further 34 are expected to be in place by the end of June.

Will my hon. Friend add yet another to his list, because the Southampton chamber of commerce signed a contract for a local employer network with the MSC today? Will he acknowledge that the Government have done more than any previous Administration for training in Britain and that local employer networks enable that training to be targeted where skills are in greatest need? I hasten to add that neither I nor any of my parliamentary colleagues in Hampshire, save perhaps the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock), intend to be a candidate for retraining following the general election on 11 June.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend will not be a candidate for retraining. I welcome what he has said and the fact that contracts have been exchanged. He has been extremely kind in complimenting local employer networks. What is happening in his area means that there will be a real local voice, expressed by industry, in education and training.