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EU approves training funding for Midlands

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A £9 million Government funded training grant for car workers at MG Rover yesterday received approval from the European Commission.

Estelle MorrisEducation and Skills Secretary, Estelle Morris welcomed the announcement:

“This is excellent news. The money is key to the Government’s commitment to supporting work-based training, not only at MG Rover, but in the automotive sector across the region.

“We are providing £9 million over three years to make sure that car workers in the region are trained in the skills they will need to keep pace with the high-tech demands of this fast-moving industry.

“The money will also help the wider community. The training courses – which will be run by local colleges, universities and private training companies – will be made available to the area’s unemployed to give them training in skills that will increase their employability and the region’s skills base. The Education Partnership Centre will provide an important link between Longbridge and local schools and colleges.

“Work based training is central to the creation of a highly-skilled workforce and wider economic success. MG Rover’s Training and Upskilling Programme is an excellent example of how industry can keep its employees up to date and its business competitive.”

Brian Wilson, Industry Minister at the Department for Trade and Industry said: “A well-trained workforce is essential if UK industry is to lead in global markets. Training equips business with the resource to innovate and compete – it’s a key part of the Government White Paper ‘Opportunity for All’. This package not only demonstrates our commitment to training but also our confidence in MG Rover.”

The £9 million grant is comprised of £5 million from DfES and £4 million from DTI. The Learning and Skills Council will administer the grant to MG Rover.

The £9 million will support MG Rover’s Training and Upskilling Programme for its workforce. This identified the workforce training needed to keep the company competitive in the high value end of the automotive market. The programme has been developed to support the long term sustainability of jobs within the company. New and existing staff will benefit from accredited training in subjects such as engineering, business, leadership, health and safety and IT. Qualifications range from NVQ to MBA level.

The programme will also support employees in the region’s automotive supply chain – accredited courses developed by local colleges, universities and private training organisations as part of the upskilling programme will be made available to employees from other companies within the automotive component supply chain.

Local unemployed people will also benefit from the training facilities at Longbridge. Most of the training, whilst beneficial to MG Rover Group, will provide the recipients with general skills, which have application in a range of employment areas and therefore are highly transferable.

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