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Land-based Economy

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to improve skill levels among sectors for which his Department is responsible in relation to the land-based economy. (102374)

DEFRA has an ongoing commitment to promoting the recognition of skills and the business benefits of training in the environmental and land-based sectors. To help further these aims, we have commissioned a business competence framework.

The competence framework will provide a clear understanding of what skills an individual will require to work in particular industries and in specific jobs within those industries. It will also map out career progression more clearly, support continuous professional development and provide links to training opportunities. Data gathered from the competence framework will assist training providers in targeting their provision in line with emerging needs and geographical location.

The development of the competence framework is being undertaken by Lantra (The Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based sectors) and is wholly funded by DEFRA. However, it will be self-financing, on a fees basis, by 2009. Lantra are working to promote the business benefits of training through advocacy networks, in order to help overcome the cultural barriers to training uptake commonly found in their respective sectors.

The competence framework will contain competences relevant across the environmental and land-based sectors, organised into job profiles. Competences will be divided into different levels to reflect grade or seniority. Use of the competence framework will be voluntary and participation will be open to all sizes of business. Competences will be mapped against national occupational standards and linked to existing and new qualifications. Users will have a ‘skills passport’ allowing them to demonstrate their competence to industry accepted standards.

Lantra continues to engage closely with industry to ensure that the competence framework accurately reflects their needs.