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Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many companies have signed a Skills Pledge; how many employees these companies employ; how many employees these companies expect to participate in the Skills Pledge’s aim of obtaining a first level 2 qualification; and what proportion of these companies and employees are in the (a) public and (b) voluntary sector; (144597)

(2) what proportion of private sector companies which have signed the Skills Pledge work with Government agencies in a contractual relationship; and how many employees these companies have.

On 14 June 157 employers made the Skills Pledge, which was launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Sir Digby Jones, the UK Skills Envoy. Thus far more than 1.7 million employees, of which around 1.1 million are public sector and over a 1,000 from the third sector, are covered by the commitment of these employers.

It is not possible to provide a detailed breakdown of the proportion of employees who will undertake their first full level 2 as each company will be working with the Learning and Skills Council to understand their skills gap and how best to meet that need. We expect that for some companies the gap may translate into higher level skills, as well as supporting those employees to gain basics skills, such as literacy and numeracy. All of these companies have access to the advice and guidance of independent skills brokers, should they need one. For companies with more than 5,000 employees they receive a similar service through the National Employer Service.

Information on which of these companies hold a contract with Government agencies is not held centrally.