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Government minister addresses conference

PUBLISHED: 13:16 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:19 03 July 2010

NEWLY appointed skills minister Lord Young underlined government's policies relating to skills when he addressed over 140 local businesses at a high-profile breakfast conference organised by Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in association with The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

NEWLY appointed skills minister Lord Young underlined government's policies relating to skills when he addressed over 140 local businesses at a high-profile breakfast conference organised by Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in association with The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

The Skills Pledge Event took place at Dunston Hall Hotel, Norwich, on Tuesday.

Lord Young addressed emerging policy issues relating to skills, and Caroline Neville, Regional Director of LSC East of England discussed how these fitted in with the economic priorities of Norfolk and the Eastern Region.

Delegate also heard from Mick Placzek, Head of HR, Diss Promotional Services: “By making the Skills Pledge it shows there is a commitment between management and employees which will help develop the skills of staff, and will support the success of the organisation,” said Mr Placzek.

The following also make the Skills Pledge on behalf of their companies and were congratulated by Lord Young. Paul Adams, director of corporate resources and cultural services Norfolk County Council, Richard Bridgman, chairman Warren Services Ltd, Kris Griffin, area manager Anglia Restaurants

Lord Young was appointed in October as parliamentary under-secretary of state for skills and apprenticeships in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Lord Young said: “It's never been more important for employers in Norfolk, and across the country, to develop the skills of their workforce. Those that utilise the potential of every employee to the full will be best-placed to weather tough economic times, and to make the most of future opportunities for growth. Indeed, research shows that firms that don't train are 2.5 times more likely to fail than those that do.

“The Government is investing in increasingly flexible skills and training support to enable every employer to access the training they need, when and where they need it. By 2010-11 we'll be spending some £5bn a year on skills to make sure UK firms stay ahead of the competition.”

Caroline Williams, CEO Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, who had called on local businesses to show commitment in strength in numbers said: “Norfolk's education attainment currently underperforms at all levels compared with East of England and National figures, causing the business community key skills issues but we do not have to put up with this situation” said Mrs Williams.

“As a business community a better skilled workforce is a top priority to enable us to achieve growth. It is great that so many of the Norfolk's business community came out in force to demonstrate that we will not settle for anything but the best for our staff and our businesses. We need to secure more funding, create clarity, remove bureaucracy and put a stop to fragmented delivery relating to skills and training.”

The Skills Pledge is a voluntary, public commitment by the leadership of companies or organisations to support its employees in developing basic skills such as numeracy and literacy. The idea is to work towards the achievement of relevant, valuable qualifications equivalent to at least five good GCSEs.

Businesses signing up automatically gain the support and advice of a national network of skills brokers who help them achieve their goals.

The Skills Pledge is closely linked to Train to Gain, another Government-led initiative designed to help the estimated 1.3m people who go to work every day without the necessary skills to do their job.

The government believes it is essential to improve skills training if British companies are to prosper, and to continue to compete effectively against the emerging economies of countries such as India and China.


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