National Skills Academy For Manufacturing Launched In UK

Program aims to train 40,000 students a year by 2012.

A new national academy designed to raise manufacturing skills was launched Thursday by UK Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling.

The new academy is one in a series set up by the UK government across several sectors of industry. It will deliver training to 40,000 students a year by 2012. Backing for the project has come from several manufacturers, such as Rolls Royce, Caterpillar, Ford, GKN, BAE Systems, Airbus UK, Corus, VT Group and Nissan.

The National Center in Birmingham will join up with colleges in each region of England, delivering courses under the National Skills Academy curriculum. Any college or training provider will be able to apply to offer Academy courses.

"Raising skills has to be a national mission,” said Darling. “That is why some of the best known manufacturers in this country are on board.”

Manufacturing accounts for 14 percent of UK GDP, providing 3.7 million jobs.

"The new Skills Academy for Manufacturing can be the production line for the next generation of highly trained, highly motivated manufacturing workers,” said Secretary Darling. “The country needs them."

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