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Updated: New skills academy is DfES approved

The National Manufacturing Skills Academy (NMSA) will be launched on January 25.

It is one of the first national skills academies to be approved by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and will focus on meeting the skills needs of both large and small employers from the manufacturing sector.

SEMTA, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, is leading the NMSA on behalf of and with the full participation of the automotive manufacturing sector.

Christopher Macgowan, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, said: “The launch of the NMSA for the manufacturing sectors is a huge step forward. First and foremost it will put the development of our people at the very top of the agenda. Secondly, it will enable a wide range of manufacturing sectors to work together and pool resources and expertise.

“It will also enable all companies to quickly assess and choose the training and skills development programmes most suited to the needs of their workforce.”

Macgowan said the transition of work by the Automotive Academy into the NMSA was nearing completion and would allow the automotive sector to deliver more of what manufacturing employers want.

The Transport and General Workers Union, which has consistently called for a robust Government approach to the haemorrhaging of skilled manufacturing jobs in the UK, gave a guarded welcome to the new skills academy.

"Skills training is obviously important if we are to rebuild our manufacturing base from the current situation of plant closures and relocation to low labour cost countries," said Tony Woodley, T&G general secretary. "The application of this initiative across top name companies and in all parts of the UK is a welcome sign that the Government is taking trade union concerns seriously. What we need to go alongside this is a clear Government commitment to boost manufacturing by using its own buying power as well as taking advantage of the rising role of renewable energy for the future," Woodley added.

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