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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 July 2007, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK
Campaign promotes skills upgrade
Poster campaign
Hands in the shape of a tulip will feature on posters
An advertising campaign encouraging people to upgrade their skills through education and training is being launched by the government.

TV, print and poster adverts will aim to persuade people of their natural ability to succeed.

The "Our future. It's in our hands" campaign will run over three years, but it is hoped this first phase will create the desire and will to learn.

Minister John Denham said there was a need to change the attitude to skills.

The government is spending 20m on advertising adult education over the next five years.

The campaign comes after a report by Lord Leitch for the government warned that the UK must become a world leader in skills by 2020 if it wants to sustain its position in the global economy.

It said the UK would continue to fall behind its competitors unless it doubled the rate at which people were being trained.

Skills pledge

This means dramatically increasing the number of adults who improve their skills and gain qualifications at all levels - from functional literacy and numeracy to higher education levels.

Statistics suggest that the number of jobs in low-skilled occupations will continue to fall rapidly.

The government has accepted the ambitious challenge to become a world leader in skills, and we are committed to achieving this
Skills Secretary John Denham

In 2004 figures showed that there were 6.8 million adults in the UK without even the most basic qualifications and with serious skills needs in numeracy, literacy and IT.

Mr Denham, the new secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, said: "This exciting new campaign is not just about improving skill levels, but creating a cultural change in the nation's attitude to skills.

"The government has accepted the ambitious challenge to become a world leader in skills, and we are committed to achieving this.

"We have already launched the new Skills Pledge to employers and employees and this campaign will help build on that.

Helpline number

"The campaign encourages employers and individuals to invest more in learning and skills. Through a combined commitment and effort, everyone will benefit - individuals, businesses and ultimately the nation's economy."

The advertisements are to be unveiled at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London later.

They are part of the government's response to the Leitch report. An implementation plan considering its implications will be published later in July.

Individuals and employers can access the information on free and subsidised courses and help via a dedicated phone line and website.

The phone number is 0800 011 30 30 or people can visit lsc.gov.uk/inourhands.

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