Skills White Paper

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:33 pm on 22nd March 2005.

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Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills 12:33 pm, 22nd March 2005

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that, as the result of the national employer training programme pilots showed, in fact, the programme was most successful at reaching small businesses. It is businesses with fewer than 10 employees that find it difficult to assess training needs and to identify what they could do if their employees upgraded their skills. Where a broker can talk face to face with the person running such a business, there is a real opportunity to bring about a change in the skill level involved. The construction sector will launch its sector skill agreement this afternoon; indeed, it is one of the first four sectors to launch such an agreement. It has pledged to qualify more than 250,000 workers to VQ level by 2010, and the hon. Gentleman will doubtless agree with me that that is a significant step forward.