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Access to New Deal needs flexibility;TECs

CHRIS BLYTHE, chief executive of North and Mid Cheshire Training and Enterprise Council, refused to refer a recent New Deal television advert to the Advertising Standards Authority - but believes it puts across a false image.

"The advertising suggests that a New Dealer will be running small companies for their new employers in days. That could give rise to a false expectation for employers."

The training council is enhancing the job option for employers who take on a New Deal person. "This group of young people has been badly failed at school, college or in work and we need to take a different approach."

The training council is contract holder for the New Deal education and training option. Mr Blythe sees the key to New Deal succeeding is supplier flexibilities. "That means not having to wait around to fit in with term times - but being able to access courses on a roll onroll off basis" Mr Blythe thinks the colleges will come up with more flexible course structures - and not just for those on New Deal. But if they don't, the training council will look to others to provide training. "It is all about the needs of the individual." He believes the University for Industry will stimulate change.

The training council plans to establish centres of excellence to improve the quality of vocational training delivered to employers. It will work by establishing much closer links with a smaller number of suppliers.

An initiative from TECs in the North West - Bargaining for Skills - has just been picked up nationally by the Trades Union Council. Unions are proving a useful ally in the TEC movement's drive to get more companies to take a structured approach to workforce training. The model is of unions banding together with TECs to lobby for continued skills development, and training agreements in staff terms and conditions.

HELEN HAGUE

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