UK – 8th October, 2008 – Home improvement retailer B&Q has become the 100,000th company to sign up to Train to Gain, as the flagship service marks its second year of helping to boost the nation’s skills.
Employer representatives joined Ministers in calling on even more employers to take advantage of the training service, which helps firms get the best from their staff by identifying and helping meet skills needs. 78 per cent of employers say that they would recommend Train to Gain to other employers.
Since its launch in 2006, Train to Gain has helped over 570,000 employees in England get training, and over 291,000 learners have achieved a qualification. An evaluation published this year revealed that some 43 per cent of people who had completed their training reported having received a pay rise, and 30 per cent reported having had promotion. Funding for Train to Gain will increase from £520 million in 2007-08 to over £1 billion by 2010-11.
Lord Young, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said:
“Successful employers see up-skilling the workforce as one of the most powerful things they can do to drive their businesses forward. Employers who have invested in the skills of their people in the past will be better placed to respond to the economic challenges, and they will also be better placed to take advantage of the opportunities in the next period of growth.
“B&Q has helped to mark a milestone for this service. Only two years in, a hundred thousand businesses have benefited from Train to Gain. Now more than ever, employers need to ensure they are getting the best from their staff by taking advantage of the range of training and funding opportunities available through Train to Gain.”
Martyn Philips, HR Director, B&Q said:
“Good skills at all levels are essential to our business if we are to continue to thrive in an exceptionally competitive market and we currently invest a lot of time and effort in ensuring our staff receive the training they need in order to be the best at their job. Train to Gain means we can now do this even better than before and helps us to really identify our employees’ individual needs. Over the next 12 months we anticipate around 35 per cent of our non-management population will be awarded the NVQ Retails Skills Level 2. In addition we will be launching an apprenticeship programme early next year.”
Miles Templeman, Director General, Institute of Directors (IoD) said:
“Skills and training have never been more important to UK businesses. In the ever-intensifying heat of global competition, skills are a critical factor in determining business success. IoD members are fully committed to this agenda – over 90 per cent provide training for their employees. Services like Train to Gain will help to maintain this encouraging trend. It has made a very positive start and there is clearly considerable potential to build on this foundation by continuing to raise its profile in the business community. It is there, after all, for employers to take advantage of.”
Richard Thorold, principal at Gateshead College, said:
“In the past two years since Train to Gain was introduced, as one of the North East’s leading training providers we have met with more than 116 employers. Train to Gain has turned out to be the success we hoped it would be and employers share our view; feedback from the businesses we’ve worked with has been very positive, with many of them reporting an increase in productivity, profits or efficiency as a result of our training.
“Train to Gain has enabled us to use our expert knowledge to develop bespoke training packages that identify skills gaps, build confidence, motivate teams and deliver immediate results.”
A spokesperson for the British Chamber of Commerce said:
“Businesses’ ability to grow and succeed is dependent on its staff. Professional development – both in terms of skills levels and management capabilities – is crucial, and business is committed to providing employees with the training they need. Train to Gain is a tangible embodiment of partnership between employers and the Government to training, and one which we hope to progress as Train to Gain evolves as a service to business.”
Frances O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary said:
“Where employers and unions work together Train to Gain produces great results both for employers and workers. Union Learning Reps know that access to learning changes lives and are keen for their employers to sign up to Train to Gain”.
John Vigar, Continuous Improvement and Business Coordination Manager, Lotus Group, commented:
“It’s great to see what an improvement the LSC initiatives like Train to Gain has made to our business’ performance and to the staff themselves. We have been able to further improve our performance measures as well as provide worthy recognition of our employees’ efforts.”
Through Train to Gain, the London-based construction firm FM Conway Ltd has trained 250 of its employees in a range of qualifications including Operatives and Masons through to Plant Operators. One employee, Sharon Field, completed a range of training starting at A-level equivalent, progressing through to postgraduate degree equivalent in Management. This helped her earn a promotion to director level.
Sharon Field said: “Getting the training to improve my skills has renewed my self-confidence. I’m sure that it will strengthen my ability to support the company in its future growth. Training has also improved the performance and loyalty of my other colleagues – ultimately benefiting our company’s bottom-line.”
Employers wanting more information on Train to Gain can either call 0800 015 55 45 or visit traintogain.gov.uk.