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Heathrow, United Kingdom, 2007/07/27 - Skills for Health – the sector skills council for the public, private and voluntary healthcare sectors – has signed a new multi-million pound Joint Investment Framework involving Strategic Health Authorities and the Learning and Skills Council.
Over time, the deal will see up to £100m of additional funds being delivered annually into the health service in England to tackle skills gaps and shortages. By developing the potential of healthcare staff the aim is to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and the highest levels of service.
The Joint Investment Framework is a rolling three-year agreement between the Strategic Health Authorities, the Learning and Skills Council, and Skills for Health. Funding will focus on healthcare staff working in Bands 1 to 4; funding Apprenticeships, Skills for Life, and other skills development and qualifications at Levels 2, 3 and 4.
Part of the Sector Skills Agreement for Health, the Framework represents a major step towards achieving the demand-led skills system recommended in the December 2006 Leitch review of skills.
Commenting on the agreement, Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health said:
“This agreement shows we value the health workforce and is evidence of our commitment to their training and development. For those working in the healthcare sector it will mean increased opportunities and better prospects; for employers, it will ensure a higher skilled, more flexible workforce; and for patients, it will result in improved levels of service and care".
Comments from Skills for Health, the Learning and Skills Council and health sector employers:
John Rogers, Chief Executive of Skills for Health:
“Our vision is to improve healthcare services by ensuring that the sector has a skilled and flexible workforce. The Sector Skills Agreement for Health is our mechanism for achieving this. To date we have already gained the support of more than 70 partners across the UK who are working with us to help accomplish this objective. The new Joint Investment Framework is an important example of the Sector Skills Agreement in action.”
Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council:
“Improving skills and reducing skills gaps and shortages is vital if we are to build first-class public services in this country. That is why this agreement is so important. It represents a very significant move to ensure that the healthcare sector and its workforce are equipped with the best vocational skills that are available. We at the LSC are delighted to be involved in this agreement and the partnership that has brought it to fruition.”
Cynthia Bower, Chief Executive of West Midlands SHA:
“This is a significant additional investment in the skills of staff in bands 1-4 who traditionally have had fewer opportunities to develop their skills. This partnership offers an exciting way forward and will make a real difference to the quality of care we provide for all our patients.”
David Amos, Director of Workforce, University College London Hospitals:
“As an employer of over 6,000 staff - around 20 per cent of whom are in bands 1 to 4 - I welcome this additional investment. It is a tangible benefit of the commitment to working in partnership through the Sector Skills Agreement and will help us provide high quality patient services”.
The Joint Investment Framework funding is being made available over and above all existing funding allocated to the healthcare sector by the Learning and Skills Council. For further information about the Joint Investment Framework contact Meetal Jethwa, Assistant Project Manager – Policy and Research on 0117 910 2291.
About the Sector Skills Agreement for Health (SSA)
The Sector Skills Agreement for Health (SSA) is a UK-wide series of agreements, each brokered by Skills for Health. There are currently over 70 agreements incorporated; each of which supports the provision of best quality healthcare and services through the skills of those working in the sector.
The SSA’s aim is to achieve improved healthcare services by helping to ensure that the sector has a skilled, flexible workforce. The agreement spans the whole health sector footprint – covering NHS, independent and voluntary employers. It sets out a strategy and solutions to tackle skills gaps and shortages in the healthcare sector so that patients receive the best possible care and the highest levels of service.
In addition to the Joint Investment Framework outlined within this press release, other outcomes of the SSA to date include: an emergent sector qualifications strategy; an emergent sector careers framework; closer working relationships with education funding bodies; strengthened partnership work between major bodies and agencies; application of competence-based approaches to workforce transformation; work to strengthen employer engagement; work to develop robust approaches to commissioning training and education; work to broaden access and progression into health sector careers; work on quality assurance; work to increase learning opportunities for previously excluded and disadvantaged employees.
About the LSC
The LSC exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. We are responsible for ensuring the availability of high-quality education and training for everyone. We have a single goal: to improve the skills of England’s young people and adults to world class standards. Our vision is that young people and adults in England have knowledge and skills matching the best in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce. We work nationally, regionally and locally to deliver this ambition on behalf of learners and employers.