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Skills Academy is super-sized

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Three new organisations will cover sport and leisure, the creative and cultural industry and hospitality, under an expansion of the National Skills Academy.

The move puts the government a step further towards reaching its target of having a Skills Academy in each major sector by the end of 2011. Created in a bid to solve potentially acute skills shortages in their respective sectors, Skills Academies aim to help employers, government and other stakeholders to design more effective training.

The new academies promise to reach more than 20,000 learners in the first year alone with the aim of extending to over 400,000 people over five years.

Skills minister David Lammy commented: “The National Skills Academy network will make a substantial contribution to the success of the UK economy. By making a long term investment in high quality training, tailored to specific sector needs, the employers involved in these partnerships will reap dividends in terms of enhanced productivity, creativity and competitiveness.”

The National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, led by among others, Sport England, Fitness First and the England and Wales Cricket Board will aim to provide one single, coherent approach to all skills training across the sector. It will be driven by twin ambitions: to stage a successful London Olympic Games in 2012 and to see 50% of the nation active and healthy by 2020.

The National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural industries plans to address the need for 30,000 extra backstage staff in this sector over the next decade. It is estimated that 860,000 new and replacement skilled staff at every level of the hospitality industry will be needed by 2012.

The National Skills Academy for Hospitality and its leading employers Barcelo Hotels, Compass Group plc, Terry Laybourne and Edge Foundation, has set out to provide the focus and profile needed for the industry to raise skills standards and therefore productivity across the board. The Skills Academy is also supported by major employers in the sector including Accor Hotels, McDonalds Restaurants, Sodexho and Whitbread.

Michele Roberts, director of skills development network at the LSC, added: “The network is a result of teamwork between business and Government to keep training provision the core of these vital industries. We are working hard to help modernise training delivery so that it is relevant and keeps pace with employer demand. We want learners to access industry skills so they remain inspired and competitive for years to come.”

The three new Acadamies join the existing ones in construction, manufacturing, food & drink manufacturing, financial services, process industries and the nuclear industry.

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Annie Hayes

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