Employees' Skills

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Skills – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th March 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ms Jane Griffiths Ms Jane Griffiths Labour, Reading East 11:30 am, 24th March 2005

What steps she is taking to improve the skills base of employees.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Skills and Vocational Education)

On Tuesday the Secretary of State announced a new skills White Paper. The White Paper demonstrates the Government's commitment to improving the skills of employees to meet the current and future needs of employers and further strengthen our productivity and competitiveness in a global marketplace. Recently we also launched our 14 to 19 proposals.

Photo of Ms Jane Griffiths Ms Jane Griffiths Labour, Reading East

When the proposals contained in the very welcome White Paper are developed, will my hon. Friend and his colleagues give particular attention to areas such as the Thames Valley, which are net importers of labour and suffer, perhaps excessively, from a skills shortage?

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Skills and Vocational Education)

I reassure my hon. Friend that that will be the case. We have a journey to travel in vocational education, but we ought to celebrate the fact that this year we have a record 270,000 young people participating in apprenticeships, 100,000 young people studying GCSEs in vocational studies, and 90,000 young people participating in the 14-to-16 increased flexibility programme. With the unveiling of the national skills academies only this week, we are beginning to build an infrastructure that will give us excellent high-quality vocational education for the first time.

It is also important to focus on the significant additional resources for investment in further education that the Chancellor announced in the Budget. We can now bring together the skills academies, centres of vocational excellence and specialist schools.