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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
City academies are future - Blair
Tony Blair
Tony Blair wants flexibility from bosses and workers
One day every secondary school will be a trust or a city academy, Tony Blair has predicted.

He said it would be the norm for schools to engage outside partners, adding that the key to future economic success lay in workforce flexibility.

Mr Blair made his prediction in the latest in a series of speeches aimed at securing his political legacy.

The prime minister is keen to complete reforms of public services before he steps down later this year.

His previous speeches have covered community cohesion, defence, criminal justice and public health.

It will be the norm for schools to have outside partners
Tony Blair

Mr Blair said in order to succeed, employment patterns needed to stress the individual empowerment of employee whilst avoiding conflict with the needs of employers.

He was speaking to an audience of business people at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Mr Blair said the nature of work patterns had changed, as had the role of government.

"The rule now is not to interfere with the necessary flexibility an employer requires to operate successfully in a highly fluid, rapidly changing economic market.

"It is to equip the employee to survive, prosper and develop in such a market; to give them the flexibility to be able to choose a wide range of jobs and to fit family and work life together," he said.

'Powerful' employees

"In our schools, this revolution in thinking is well under way.

"In time to come, every secondary school is likely to be a trust or academy school."

He continued: "It will be the norm for schools to have outside partners. The challenge today is to make the employee powerful, not in conflict with the employer but in terms of their market ability in the modern workforce.

"It is to reclaim flexibility for them, to make it about their empowerment, their ability to fulfil their aspirations."

Mr Blair said that at the end of the 1980s industrial restructuring was inevitable because the world had changed making job protection through regulation increasingly outdated.




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