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Training help for renewables and energy efficiency

The renewables and energy efficiency industries are to receive a share of £98 million in Government funding to help in developing a more highly skilled workforce.

Skills secretary John Denham said the two areas have been identified as vital for the future prosperity of the UK.- other sectors to receive assistance include biotech, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, renewable, energy conservation and hospitality sectors.

Mr Denham said that the skills system needed to be more effective at creating people with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. He called for a more effective demand led approach.

Mr Denham said:  'If Government policy creates the expectation of future business - by supporting nuclear power, or setting out a framework for renewable energy, for example - it creates a demand for skills. And it sends a strong signal to all people and to the education system to develop skills that they know will be required for future jobs.

'Employer investment in skills is driven, like other investments, by the need to be able to meet the predicted demand for products and services. So government policy can and should be a major influence on employer investment in skills. But the reverse is equally true. If policy creates uncertainty, it will be more difficult to secure skills investment.'

As part of this the Government has unveiled three new agreements with employers, worth £98m in total, to deliver bespoke training including the engineering construction sector.

The money will be drawn from the existing Train to Gain budget and builds on seven existing compacts in important sectors including engineering, technology, hospitality, process and manufacturing.

Mr Denham said the skills system had to prioritises needs identified by employer partnerships at local and regional level and in particular sectors of the economy.

He also said training provision had to be simplified by making more effective use of skills brokers and web-based tools to make it easier and less bureaucratic for business needs.

He said: 'We cannot go back to predict and provide. If individual employer demand alone will not produce what we need, we need to strengthen employers' collective ability to shape the system.
'Employers need to be helped to co-ordinate and to communicate demand. By industry. By sector. Or by locality. Whichever turns out to be most needed and is likely to be most effective. Over recent months, this is the direction in which our skills policy has increasingly been moving.”