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PRE-BUDGET REPORT:£190M BOOST FOR SKILLS TRAINING

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The government's drive to improve the skills of the nation's ...
The government's drive to improve the skills of the nation's

workforce was given a multi-million pound boost, and it's commitment

to give every child a sure start in life was underlined today as

education secretary Charles Clarke today welcomed the chancellor's

Pre-Budget Report.

Over 2004-05 and 2005-06, further investment will be channelled into

workforce training, as the Pre-Budget Report outlined a £190m boost

to the successful Employer Training Pilot programme, extending the

scheme to give free training to low-skilled workers in twelve

current pilot areas for a further year, and expanding it to operate

in six new areas.

The Pre-Budget Report also underlined the government's continued

commitment to give every child a sure start in life, outlining:

- a commitment to establishing 1,000 Children's Centres by 2008, to

provide integrated education, health and support services for

children and their families;

- the establishment of nursery and school-parent links in 500

communities so that infants are introduced to early learning and

books before compulsory education;

- new reforms to encourage employers to support their employee's

childcare costs with tax exemptions on up to £50 per week spent on

registered or approved childcare.

A Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship will also be established

shortly to promote entrepreneurship to students and new graduates,

and foster close collaboration between Higher Education Institutions

and their regional and local business support communities.

Mr Clarke said: 'Every child, every young person and every adult

matters. High quality, life long and easily accessible education

from cradle to grave is fundamental to fulfilling personal

achievement and delivering national prosperity.

'Employer Training Pilots are reaching the employers and employees

that traditional training programmes have never reached. Higher

skills leve ls benefit the employee with improved pay and prospects,

the employer with a more efficient workforce, and the economy as a

whole with improved productivity.

'1,000 Children's Centres will provide essential services for

children and their families, where and when they need them - early

education, childcare, health, family support and help into

employment. And the establishment of nursery and school-parent links

in 500 communities will help children learn with their parents to

develop their full potential for adult life.'

NOTES

This Notice applies to England.

1. Employer Training Pilots offer funding to employers to enable them

to provide time off for their employees to take up free or subsidised

tuition to improve their basic skills and qualifications. Recent

evaluation shows that, in the initial six pilot areas, over 14,000

low- skilled workers from 3,000 employers have already benefited from

training they would otherwise not have received. The scheme

particularly benefits small firms, traditionally an area where

training has not been a high priority.

2. Employer Training Pilots are currently running in Birmingham and

Solihull, Derbyshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear,

Wiltshire and Swindon, Berkshire, East London, Kent, Leicester,

Shropshire and South Yorkshire. The six new pilot areas will be

announced shortly. £120 million of the money announced for Employer

Training Pilots is new resource and comes from the Windfall Tax

reserve, the remaining £70 million is carry over from this financial

year.

3. Children's Centres provide integrated care and education for young

children, health services, family support and a base for

childminders, bringing together influential programmes such as Sure

Start, Early Excellence Centres and Neighbourhood Nurseries.

Children's Centres are situated where need is greatest, in the most

disadvantaged areas in the country.

4. The governme nt is establishing links with primary and nursery

schools in 500 communities to help parents give their children the

very best start in life. This will help parents of young children to

create a positive learning environment in the home and to prepare

children for starting school.

5. The Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship will be overseen and

funded by the Department for Education and Skills and the Small

Business Service. It will receive £700,000 from existing resources

each year to promote the idea of graduate entrepreneurship to those

people who work with students so that more students and new graduates

will think seriously about becoming self-employed.

6. A fundamental role will be to foster close collaboration between

Higher Education Institutions and their regional and local business

support communities. The Council will also work to bring both

advisors and students into direct contact with the sources of help

available to people starting a business.

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