THE new skills strategy is undoubtedly a bold and decisive move by the Government to confront and overcome the skills challenges facing the UK over the next decade. Putting the needs of employers at the heart of the strategy is very much welcomed.
As a level 2 qualification becomes the basic "price of entry" for work, it is commendable that all adults who have yet to attain one are now entitled to fully funded learning.
However, while we welcome the Government's targeted support for level 3 (two A levels or equivalent) where economic priorities dictate, we are disappointed the idea of a level 3 entitlement for the under25s, as advocated by the task force, has not yet been fully accepted.
Other critical issues for the strat egy include careers information, advice for adults, a fundamental review of the vocational qualifications framework, and an engagement strategy to stimulate demand for vocational education among adults and employers - the design of this strategy is scheduled for completion by December 2003.
The publication of this strategy marks a commitment from the Government to properly implement the key proposals from the skills task force over two and a half years umade between 1998 to 2000.
It is a fitting testimonial to the hard work of those 19 highly talented people from across industry, trade unions and education and training and I applaud the commitment of this government to placing skills at the heart of its economic agenda.
City amp; Guilds.