The government has called on all employers, including SMEs, to sign up to its new ‘skills pledge’ which aims to improve the qualification of UK workers.Under the new plan, which was launched by Gordon Brown and education secretary Alan Johnson, the state, employers and employees will all share responsibility for improving the skills of the nation.It is hoped that the pledge will stimulate demand from all businesses, regardless of their size or the sector they operate in, for training services. The government wants to change the culture of employment so that gaining skills is "taken as a matter of course".Chancellor Brown explained why improving workers’ skills was vital for the continued prosperity of the country. "In the future skills will be the only route to prosperity and jobs. Of 3.4 million unskilled jobs today, by 2020 we will need only 600,000."Under the new proposals, an employer signing up to the skills pledge will be responsible for delivering a training programme geared to their particular industry. The business will receive support and possible funding from government to deliver the training.The training courses, which will also cover basic literacy and numeracy, will ensure that employees reach a level equivalent to having five GCSEs at grade A* to C.This new scheme was a result of Lord Leitch’s recent report into the UK’s skill base. Publishing his report, Lord Leitch said: "In the 21st century, our natural resource is our people."Their potential is both untapped and vast. Skills are the key to unlocking that potential. The prize for our country will be enormous – higher productivity, the creation of wealth and social justice."© Adfero Ltd

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