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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 11:21 GMT
Industry gets its own academies
Trainee builder
Nearly 90,000 new recruits are needed in construction each year, ministers say
Four areas of industry will get their own training academies in England under a 40m plan announced on Monday.

Tens of thousands of young people and adults will be trained at the academies, which will run from next September.

The government is working with industry to fund the training in manufacturing, construction, financial services and food and drink.

The aim is to improve productivity and tackle skills shortages.

The colleges - to be known as National Skills Academies - will be based at different locations in England.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly said: "In the past, government has let down employers when it has tried to second guess what different sectors need.

Academies are an opportunity for government and employers to achieve common goals and build a Britain of enterprise and opportunity
Ruth Kelly, Education Secretary

"But equally, employers have been guilty of watching government initiatives from the sidelines and expressing disappointment when they inevitably land wide of the mark.

"National Skills Academies are an opportunity for government and employers to achieve common goals and build a Britain of enterprise and opportunity."

Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said the construction academy would help ensure that there were enough skilled workers for building projects linked to the 2012 Olympics in London.

The academies were modelled on a fashion retail academy backed by the retailer Phillip Green, which opened its doors in September as the first of the National Skills Academies.

The aim is to have at least 12 of the academies - one for each major sector.

Sector shortages

Companies which have pledged to lead the successful bids include: Bovis Lend Lease, Kier Homes, Northern Foods Plc, Youngs Bluecrest Seafood Ltd, Filtronics Components Ltd, Caterpillar, Nationwide Building Society and Norwich Union Insurance.

They will now work with the Learning and Skills Councils (LSC) to develop detailed business plans.

The construction academy will start with four training centres and two mobile units while the academy for financial services will establish centres in London, Manchester and Norwich.

Ministers said there were thousands of shortages of skilled workers in manufacturing, while in construction almost 90,000 new recruits were needed every year.

In the food and drink manufacturing business, officials estimate that over the next eight years 150,000 new recruits will be needed to fill vacancies.

Bids for further academies will be taken next year.

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