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Skills Academies

Volume 688: debated on Tuesday 9 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many skills academies have been approved; what skills they aim to cover; and where they are located. [HL1004]

To date, three national skills academies (NSAs) have been approved. These are in the areas of manufacturing, financial services and construction. A fourth NSA in food and drink processing is at an advanced stage in developing its business plan and should be ready for approval shortly.

A further four national skills academies have been selected from a second round of expressions of interest and are currently in the business planning stage prior to approval. These are in the areas of hospitality, creative and cultural, nuclear, and chemical process engineering. National skills academies will offer sector specific skills development and relevant vocational training at a range of levels.

All academies will be expected to have a national reach but each NSA will have its own model for achieving this. The financial services NSA will develop regional centres of excellence in London, Leeds, Manchester and Norwich initially, but aims to expand this network into further regions from 2007 onwards with the support of significant employer investment. The construction NSA will establish on-site training centres supported by a fleet of regionally based mobile centres at a range of significant construction projects across all nine English regions. The manufacturing NSA will be working through the existing provider network, particularly centres of vocational excellence (CoVES), initially launching in the north-east and West Midlands, where it will have its main hub.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the age range for students at skills academies; and [HL1005]

What are the contents of the curriculum which have been established by skills academies; and [HL1006]

How many students are envisaged for each of the skills academies that have been approved. [HL1007]

National skills academies (NSA) will provide training for people of working age. However, a number plan to establish links with schools in order to facilitate pre-work vocational training and work experience in their sector.

There is no set curriculum for national skills academies. Each academy will work closely with the employers in its sector to determine the key areas for skills development. These could include craft, technical and managerial areas. Employers, working with sector skills councils (SSCs), will shape all aspects of the design of academies and delivery of the training including suitable courses, normally leading to recognised qualifications. Academies plan to offer a wide range of learning opportunities, including new entry routes to employment, apprenticeships, pre-employment training for adults aimed at broadening the recruitment pool, full-time and work-based routes to qualifications, including flexible and “bite-sized” learning, designed specifically by and for employers.

The National Skills Academy for Manufacturing aims to support the learning needs of around 40,000 learners per year by 2012. The NSA for construction expects to have facilitated 10,000 apprenticeships and trained 100,000 adults to enable them to gain national vocational qualifications at levels 2 and 3 by 2010. The financial services NSA expects to have 15,000 learners by 2008-09.