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Further Education

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage those in employment to engage in further educational study. (147155)

It is essential that individuals in employment are encouraged to study further. The Leitch Review of Skills published in 2006 reinforced this and I welcome Lord Leitch’s assessment that the need to dramatically raise awareness and aspirations on skills and to change people’s attitudes is key to this.

On 9 July, we will launch a long-term, national marketing campaign which will play an important and powerful role in bringing about the change in culture that we need.

In order to improve their skills and employability and progress their careers, people also need to be informed of the choices they have. The Leitch Report made some specific recommendations on how to improve careers advice and empower the learner; we will respond to these in the forthcoming Leitch Implementation Plan.

Our policies also encourage and support those in employment to engage in further upskilling in various ways. Train to Gain is central to delivering a truly demand-led system and is the key vehicle for delivering the expansion in participation and achievement for individuals already in the work force. As at April 2007, a total of 154,290 learners had commenced learning through Train to Gain and over 40,000 employers had been engaged. The level 2 entitlement provides free tuition for all adults studying for their first full level 2 qualification. The Skills for Life programme provides opportunities for adult learners to acquire the underpinning skills they need for further learning and sustainable employment and many adults have benefited from free provision and achieved their first ever qualification in literacy, language or numeracy. Adults under the age of 25 who have missed out on education and training opportunities will be able to get free tuition through further education colleges and providers to obtain a first, full level 3 qualification, equivalent to 2 A-levels, from this August.