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The government's focus on both improving skills in the workplace and ...
The government's focus on both improving skills in the workplace and

strengthening links between schools and businesses has taken a

significant step forward in today's Budget.

The chancellor of the exchequer today announced an increase from £11m

to £14m a year to boost the skills of those in work

through the Union Learning Fund. The fund helps trade unions provide

more workplace training for members.

The chancellor also announced a pilot scheme to improve school

interaction with business. A sum of £10m in 2004-05 has been

made available for new Enterprise Advisers who will work with

secondary schools in deprived areas to help give pupils the

enterprise skills they need for employment.

Education and skills secretary Charles Clarke said:

'It is vital we get schools working more closely with business. The

new enterprise advisers are an important part of this drive. We can

raise young people's aspirations by giving them a taste of


'We have consistently shown our total commitment to improving

workplace skills. By increasing the Union Learning Fund, we will help

more people enhance their skills. This is good for employees and good

for their employers too.'

Other education and skills announcements to come out of today's

Budget include:

- allowing international students in science, engineering and

technology to work in the UK for one year after graduation before

going through the usual work permit process;

- confirming the expansion of Employer Training Pilots, which helps

employees get the right training by giving firms subsidies to cover

the costs involved. The pilots will run in six new areas as well as

the original six which were set up in 2002;

- working in partnership with high street banks to stimulate more

demand for advice and training and make entrepreneurs more aware of

their benefits. There will also be a one-stop web-based training

directory to raise awareness of public and private sector training;

- encouraging more employers, particularly small businesses, to offer

MAs to employees. The government is committed to ensuring that 28

per cent of 22 year olds will have entered apprenticeship by 2004,

with plans that about 320,000 young people will be studying an MA

by 2006; and

- engaging career advisers, academics, institutions and organisations

to promote self- employment as a career option for graduates.


This Press Notice applies to England.

1. The Union Learning Fund will receive an extra £3m from

existing resources in 2004-05 and 2005-06, increasing the provision

from £11m to £14m.

2. The Learning Skills Council will make £6m available to fund

Enterprise Advisers in 2003-04, and £10m available in

2004-05. The money will be made available through the Education

Business Partnership Consortia.

3. The six new Employer Training Pilot areas are: Berkshire, East

London, Kent, Leicester, Shropshire and South Yorkshire. The original

six set up in 2002 are: Solihull, Derbyshire, Essex, Greater

Manchester, Tyne and Wear, and Wiltshire and Swindon. In these areas,

1,500 employers have taken part in the scheme so far, and 5,600

employees have started training.

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