The government today launched key programmes to ensure the UK economy is supplied with the skills needed to fuel the growth of key new industries in the coming years.

New National Skills Academies will be developed to cover five new sectors – rail engineering; logistics; green building services; biotechnology and composites – funded by £12m of public investment matched by the private sector.

In addition, the National Skills Academy for Power is now ready to open for business, with a further £2.9m government funding. Together, these academies will aim to attract more than 300,000 learners to the training programmes they oversee over the next four years.

In the nuclear sector, the government will co-fund the delivery of up to 1000 apprentices per year subject to employer demand for places and the availability of training. This commitment is part of plans to deliver 35,000 advanced and higher apprenticeships to people aged 19 to 30.

On the day the UK Commission for Employment and Skills publishes its first National Strategic Skills Audit, the government also launches a £50m Joint Investment Programme, matching employer investment pound for pound in priority sectors.

Commissioned and requested by the government, the Skills Audit sets out the current standing of UK skills and those that will be needed in future years in the sectors that will be crucial to future growth.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

“Ambitious government projects like High Speed Rail and new civil nuclear power need a range of new skills to make them a reality.

“We are investing in the industries where employers’ need is greatest – tens of thousands of people working in these industries, the consumers they serve and the UK as a whole will see the benefit.

“New academies and investment by employers, in partnership with colleges and the education sector, will create the best training that gives people the skills they need to boost their careers and drive the economy forward.”

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has also approved a Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, London, to be run by Crossrail. The new facility will receive £5m public funding and will develop new courses and qualifications, providing training for up to 1800 people a year.

National Skills Academies bring together employers and learning providers to shape training programmes to meet the needs of industry.

The new academies announced today bring the total of National Skills Academies in the UK to 18, benefiting from a combined employer investment of more than £130m.

– The NSA for Power will be led by Sector Skills Council Energy & Utility Skills, with support from more than 15 employers including E-ON, EDF Energy and National Grid. It aims to make sure people have the right skills to work in the energy sector now and in the future and will benefit from a planned £2.9m public investment alongside £3.9m from employers.

– The rail engineering sector NSA will receive nearly £3m of government investment through the Skills Funding Agency and has the support of organisations including Network Rail, Transport for London, Rail Freight Group, the Rail Industry Association and the Association of Train Operating Companies.

– Employers including Unipart, Denby Transport and Port of Tilbury are supporting the logistics sector NSA, which will receive over £4m public funding.

– The NSA in the green building services sector will coordinate skills training in design, installation and maintenance of solar panel technology, heat and power, and wind and micro-generation. It will receive nearly £3m government investment through the Skills Funding Agency.

– The expanded capacity of the NSA for Process Industries will see it create two new hubs for Biotechnology and Composites, with over £2m public investment and will work in partnership with employers and other organisations in this key growth sector.

Notes to Editors

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson will give an update on the government’s New Industry, New Jobs strategy at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, London, at 9am on Wednesday 17 March. To register to attend, please contact the Department for Business Press Office on 0207 215 5979 / 5951 / 5976.

The National Skills Academy for Power was approved by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills following the fourth bidding round of NSAs. It is now ready for launch. The further three NSAs and expanded NSA for Process Industries were approved for development under the fifth bidding round following recommendations from the Learning and Skills Council. These now enter the formal business planning stage, with final investment proposals to be submitted to the Skills Funding Agency and Department for Business for approval.

The 1000 apprentices in the nuclear sector will be co-funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Achievement of the 1000 target is subject to employers creating apprenticeship places in sufficient numbers, and to the capacity of colleges, providers and universities to deliver the training.

On Wednesday 17 March, Business Minister Ian Lucas is announcing the proposed site for the National Composites Centre in Bristol, which will be created with £16m public investment.

National Skills Academies are employer led and funded skills organisations. They work with networks of training providers and employers to develop and shape innovative training solutions to meet the immediate and future needs of industry.

The National Skills Academy network was initiated by the Government to address the need for a world class workforce with better skills than ever before. It is managed by the Learning and Skills Council working in partnership with the Department for Business Innovation, and Skills, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the Skills for Business Network, Department for Children, Schools and Families.

For further information of the government’s response to the UKCES Skills Audit, visit