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Start as partners

Britain's TECs can look forward for the first time in their eight-year history. Jonathan Hunt reports from their conference

TECs must work as partners with the regional development authorities from day one, Margaret Beckett, President of the Board of Trade, told the conference. "They must develop strong relationships if we are to have a coherent and targeted strategy for improving the competitiveness of each region."

She said the current review "will allow us to evaluate how effective TECs are ".

But she also pledged "a key role in delivering training and skills development programmes and a broader contribution in our wider agenda of improving competitiveness".

Ms Beckett said the Department of Trade and Industry is trying to create "joined-up government" through better links with its partners and customers. Two-thirds of small to medium-sized enterprises were aware of Business Link support services, up from 50 per cent two years ago, she added.

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