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Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 18th January 2011.

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Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to improve the skills base of the labour force.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

holding answer 17 November 2010

The Government's Skills Strategy, 'Skills for Sustainable Growth', published on 16 November 2010, set out a vision for radical reform of the further education and skills system, based on the coalition principles of fairness, responsibility and freedom.

The strategy will guide the Government's reform of adult learning and skills over the remainder of this Parliament and point the way towards growth in the longer term. Its aim is to improve the skills base of the work force by putting learners, and not the state, in the driving seat. We want to give them the funding, support and information they need to make the right choices for their future.

Apprenticeships will sit at the heart of the system. We will expand the numbers of adult apprenticeships available by up to 75,000 by 2014-15 and reshape them so that technician level-Level 3-becomes the level to which learners and employers should aspire.

Learners will be able to select training and qualifications designed and valued by business, and which are offered by a broad range of autonomous providers competing with one another.

Greatest support from the state will be given to those who need it most. But we will expect learners and employers to share responsibility by contributing towards the costs of intermediate and higher level training.

There will be a new role for employers in shaping the skills system. We need employers to get involved, to shape the system and utilise the skills of their work force, so that they get the most from their investment. We will support them in implementing proposals they make for raising their game on skills.

We will increase competition between providers to drive up standards, and encourage greater diversity of provision. And we will free providers from bureaucratic control and centrally determined targets and radically simplify funding so they can respond to the needs of business and learners.

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