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Skilled Workers

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his policy is on re-skilling the existing workforce. (178121)

The Government are committed to improving the skills of the workforce, and to delivering the world class skills ambition recommended by Lord Leitch in his independent review of our nation’s skills. In ‘World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England’, published in July last year, the Government set out how it will work with employers, trade unions and individuals to deliver its world class skills ambition. As World Class Skills makes clear, this will require a significant increase in the number of people already in the workforce who improve their skills, re-skill and gain new qualifications each year. 70 per cent. of the 2020 workforce is already beyond the age of compulsory education.

Working in partnership with employers is vital to the delivery of the Government’s skills ambitions. Through the measures set out in ‘World Class Skills’, the Government are giving employers the opportunity to exert real leverage and decision making over both the content and delivery of skills and employment programmes. The new UK Commission for Employment and Skills will strengthen the employer voice at the heart of the system. Reformed and re-licensed sector skills councils will be sharply focussed on raising employer investment, articulating the future skills needs of their sector and ensuring that the supply of skills and qualifications is driven by employers.

The Skills Pledge offers employers the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their commitment to investing in the skills of their employees and over 850 employers, covering over 2.3 million employees have already done this. To help employers of all sizes and in all sectors to identify and address their skills needs, the Government are expanding and improving the Train to Gain service, and expect to increase their investment through Train to Gain to over £1 billion by 2010-11.