Skills support for UK manufacturers

The National Manufacturing Skills Academy (NMSA) will be launched tomorrow with the aim of meeting the skills needs of employers from the manufacturing sector.

The National Manufacturing Skills Academy (NMSA), a central part of the government’s skills strategy, will be launched tomorrow. 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 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 manufacturing and technologies sectors.

The NMSA is a national model for the delivery of training and education within the sectors, including the development of content and validation of trainers and assessors. All product and service offerings will be aligned with globally competitive standards and the recommendations contained in the SEMTA Sector Skills Agreement.

‘The launch of the NMSA for the manufacturing sectors is a huge step forward,’ said Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Christopher Macgowan. ‘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, especially SMEs, quickly to assess and choose the training and skills development programmes most suited to the needs of their workforce.’

‘In the automotive sector we are particularly fortunate to have had a two-year head start in this important skills development area through the services offered by the Automotive Academy, established in partnership between SMMT and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),’ continued Macgowan. ‘The successful transition of the pioneering work of the AutomotiveAcademy into the NationalManufacturingSkillsAcademy is nearing completion. This will allow our sector to build on the progress made by the AutomotiveAcademy and deliver more of what manufacturing employers want.’

The government announced in March 2006 the publication of the second round prospectus setting out its proposals for a network of 12 National Skills Academies by 2008. National Skills Academies will be employer-driven centres of excellence delivering the skills required by each major sector of the economy.

This second round prospectus invites expressions of interest from employers to develop a further eight NationalSkillsAcademies, some of which will open in 2007 and some during 2008. The deadline for expressions of interest is 19 June. An employer-led panel and officials from DfES, DTI, the Learning and Skills Council and the Sector Skills Development Agency will then assess these proposals and make recommendations to ministers.

The first four sectors moving into business planning to develop the first four National Skills Academies were announced in October 2006. These four sectors – construction, financial services, food and drink and manufacturing – are expected to submit business plans by late spring with a view to opening to learners from autumn 2007.