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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Adults urged to 'fill their skills gap'
Adult class
There are 69 foundation degree courses available
Work has begun to encourage thousands of adults in England to sign up for a new two-year vocational degree, in an attempt to address a skills shortage.

The "foundation degree" is designed to equip students with the technical and academic skills employers want in a range of sectors, including health care, information technology and e-business.

Many top companies are crying out for people with the right skills

Margaret Hodge
Now the slogan "Fill your skills gap" will be used in a national newspaper and local radio advertising campaign to urge potential students to sign up.

The degrees will be delivered in flexible ways, allowing students to study full or part-time, through methods such as distance and work-based learning.

There are nearly 4,000 places available on a range of 69 courses starting in September.

Skills shortages

The Lifelong Learning and Higher Education Minister, Margaret Hodge, said tackling skills shortages in key industry sectors was essential to support the future growth of UK businesses.

"Many top companies are crying out for people with the right skills and foundation degrees are a great way to deliver the opportunities for individuals and appropriate skills for employers," Mrs Hodge said.

Foundation degrees are ideal for those already in work who are keen to develop their potential

Professor Ivor Crewe
"Graduates with a foundation degree will have what employers want - a thorough academic grounding coupled with practical job skills."

The vocational nature of the course meant they were attractive to people who were uncertain about higher education and wanted certainty that it would provide a passport to a job, she said.

"It will help meet our target that by 2010, 50 per cent of young people have the opportunity to benefit from higher education by the age of 30," she added.

Chairman of the Foundation Degree Group, Professor Ivor Crewe, said studies among employers across the UK revealed a lack of skilled employees in key areas such as retail, banking and finance, e-skills and information technology, and logistics and transport.

"Foundation degrees give people the chance to study for a higher education qualification while gaining the essential work experience needed to succeed in today's business economy.

"They are also ideal for those already in work who are keen to develop their potential, as well as employers who want to invest in their staff, by putting them through a degree course while still working for them," he added.

See also:

28 Nov 00 | Education
16 Nov 00 | Education
15 Feb 00 | Education
03 Jan 00 | Education
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