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Departments: Ex-servicemen

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 11 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make a statement on the role of his Department in providing training for end-of-service military personnel. (148201)

Each year some 18,000 people will leave the armed forces to work in UK civilian companies.

This Department's Skills strategy particularly aims to improve level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSEs at A*-C) and literacy, language and numeracy skills for all adults. DIUS is working to increase the number of adults succeeding in national qualifications, while reducing barriers to learning.

DIUS works closely with the armed forces on its further education strategy (and also the army basic skills programme). The armed forces provide opportunities for training for all, no matter what was achieved in school or college. The literacy and numeracy standards of all recruits are assessed and those identified with poor skills for life are then given systematic support, so that before they start their vocational training, the minimum standard that all are operating at, is entry level 3 in numeracy and literacy. That support is contextualised, making learning applicable to the workplace, with the target that all have gained at least level 1 qualifications in literacy and numeracy (equivalent to GCSE level at D-G) within four years of joining, with opportunities to then gain vocational qualifications at level 2.

The armed forces train their personnel, with support from DIUS, so that they have transferable skills and nationally recognised vocational qualifications, to enable them to take up a civilian career when they leave service. The armed forces is one of the largest deliverers of apprenticeships in the country, in the past year some 5,500 apprenticeships, nearly 2,500 advanced apprenticeships and over 7,500 stand-alone NVQ or other level 2 qualifications were completed by armed forces personnel. In addition, assistance with resettlement is provided, to ensure personnel are fully prepared for civilian life.