HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 c795W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he is taking to support local technical agreements on skills acquisition and accreditation between employers and further education colleges below national Sector Skills Council requirements. [129983]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

The aim of our recently published skills strategy, "21st Century Skills-Realising Our Potential", is to ensure that employers have the right skills to support the success of their businesses, and individuals have the skills they need to be both employable and personally fulfilled. As with "Success for All", the Department's strategy for the reform of further education, a key part of the strategy is to ensure that colleges and training providers are more responsive to the needs of employers, and those of individual learners. Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) will lead the drive to increase productivity and develop the required skills within their industry sectors. Through sector skills agreements they will work with their employers and with planning and funding agencies like the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to agree an action plan for addressing priority skills needs. However, further education colleges will continue to determine the specific range and volume of courses they offer and will need to continue to be responsive to their local employers, providing bespoke training based on local agreements as appropriate. The pattern of provision will continue to be agreed in discussion with the local LSC, reflecting national and regional priorities as well of those of the locality.