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Training: Finance

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to require employers which recruit immigrant labour to fund training and skills programmes for British workers. (206843)

We have no current plans to require employers to fund skills training for British workers. However, as announced by the Prime Minister, we will be consulting on a new right to request time to train. The new right would require employers to consider seriously requests from employees for time away from their mainstream duties to undertake relevant training. From this autumn employers will need to prove that they cannot fill skilled vacancies with resident labour or that they are recruiting into recognised skill shortage areas before employing skilled migrant labour. Employers, individuals and the Government must all improve their efforts and investment if we are to deliver our ambition of a world class skills base. Train to Gain has engaged almost 83,000 employers with more then 390,000 workers starting learning programmes. We have ambitious plans to expand Train to Gain with increased funding from around £520 million this year to over £1 billion in 2010.