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Sinking the battleship line

Unfortunately you got one or two things wrong about the VT Group in your article dramatically headed "Warship builders float pound;100m deal", (TES, April 9).

VT Group is nowadays a large international provider of support services. We also do still build ships - having just completed the construction of the largest ocean-going yacht in the world. Shipbuilding these days, however, accounts for only 20 per cent of our turnover. And it is a long, long time since we or anyone else in the UK built a battleship!

Over the past 10 years VT Group has concentrated on developing its support services business with our civil education and skills activities with a major part of that drawing on the company's long experience of training military personnel in the UK and overseas. We currently have an education and skills business employing over 2,000 people with an annual turnover of more than pound;90 million. This includes our role as one of the UK's leading suppliers of guidance services and providers of vocational training. It really isn't therefore such a surprise that Surrey County Council has chosen us as its partner in Four S.

The formation on April 1 of Four S is a further important realisation of our ambition to grow our education and skills business. We believe that this new model of delivery will help to improve education support services in Surrey and can provide similar benefits for other local education authorities and for schools, too, regionally and nationally.

Four S is a unique partnership drawing on the expertise and experience of public and private sectors to secure improvement in the public education service. It is already attracting strong interest. We trust that its future progress will feature regularly in your paper.

David McGahey Managing director VT Education and Skills VT International Services Ltd Swan House 52 Poland Street, London W1

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