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“Work Skills”

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

Today my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and I are publishing a Command Paper, “Work Skills”, setting out the progress made since we jointly published the January 2008 Command Paper: “Ready to Work, Skilled for Work: Unlocking Britain’s Talent”. Copies of which are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

The paper firstly sets out how we are making the skills system more responsive to the needs of both individuals and employers, and how we are extending the principle of rights and responsibilities to those with skills needs which are preventing them from finding work.

In today’s global economy Britain must compete through higher levels of skills. We must take advantage of new opportunities, new jobs and new industries and make sure that all the people and places across the country are able to benefit.

We are determined to unlock the talent and potential of all our people. We therefore need to give people the skills that will be required in both today’s and tomorrow’s labour market.

To achieve this, we are extending entitlements to training for young adults in work and also looking at how everybody can have their own personal skills account so that they can get the training that they need and the jobs that they want.

The right skills are crucial to getting people who are out of work into a decent job or helping them start their own business. And they are also crucial to getting a better job too. We will now make sure that when people sign on for benefits, they sign up for skills as well. Increasingly, addressing skills needs where they are preventing someone from returning to work will be an important part of receiving out-of-work benefit.

The paper also shows how we are radically improving how our welfare and skills services are delivered. This will ensure our services work more closely together, and that they are driven by those who know best how to shape support to meet local needs.

With this package of proposals we will develop the talents and skills of our people and build stronger foundations for the future success of Britain and her people.