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Vocational Training

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps her Department is taking to promote re-skilling initiatives in (a) Coventry and (b) the UK; (304303)

(2) how many re-skilling initiatives there are; and how much funding her Department has allocated in support of such schemes in 2009-10.

We are working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and partners to implement a Government commitment to deliver a fully Integrated Employment and Skills (IES) service in England. The new integrated service will bring together and reform existing employment and skills services to better support skills acquisition, employment and career progression. IES trials are currently operating in 12 areas in England, one of which is in Coventry, and another four of which are in other parts of the West Midlands.

The vision and principles of IES are shared across Great Britain. However, as skills policy is devolved in Scotland and Wales, we are working with their Governments to explore how an integrated service can be piloted and delivered in the devolved Administrations.

The current challenging economic climate makes our focus on skills ever more important on an individual level for people who have been caught up in the downturn. As part of our response to the recession, we have intensified our support to help individuals identify skills needs and make more training available to jobseekers, through the response to redundancy package, the six month offer and the Young Person’s Guarantee. The Government have allocated over £350 million in funding over two years for the training element of these programmes.