On June 14 2007, more than 150 leading employers from across England met with government ministers in central London to make a public Skills Pledge to train all their staff.
This was a major public event heralding the fact that more than 1.7million private and public sector employees will be covered by a Skills Pledge.
More than 40 organisations with presence in the North-East make a Skills Pledge
The Skills Pledge fulfils a key recommendation made in the the Leitch Review of Skills, published in December 2006, at the heart of a new "deal" where employers will be able to shape the skills system to meet their needs in return for prioritising skills training at all levels.
At exactly the same time in the North-East, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East and the CBI celebrated the signing of the Skills Pledge by Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd, CITB Constructions Skills, Hartlepool Borough Council, Southern Cross Healthcare and One NorthEast.
Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, said: "In his review, Lord Leitch sets out a compelling and urgent case to transform the skills of our workforce. Today, 3.2million unqualified adults are in work, but by 2020, that will only be 600,000. In contrast, there will be 2.5million more people employed with intermediate qualifications (A-Level equivalent) than there are today. Increasing the skills of the workforce at all levels is clearly vital to the continued economic success of this country.
"We thank all the employers who attended the event for making a historic first step and invite them to continue to lead the way, as we look to make our workforce truly world-class in skills."
Employers who make a commitment to the Skills Pledge will have access to a Skills Broker, part of the jointly funded LSC North East and One NorthEast Train to Gain service. Developed as part of a wider effort by the Regional Skills Partnership in the North-East to increase the productivity and further regenerate the region, Train to Gain will ensure that skills brokerage is available to all employers in the region.
Chris Roberts, regional director, LSC North East said: "The Skills Pledge goes to the heart and soul of a business or organisation. It represents an undertaking to commit to a culture of staff development, starting with those who have the lowest level of skills and qualifications."
For more information on the Skills Pledge, please visit www.traintogain.gov.uk or call 0800 015 5545.
www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/ECC/46/ alternative_skills_scenarios_ chapters.pdf