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Train to gain helps businesses of all sizes fight recession


BIS Department for Business Innovation and Skills - Expert Author

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Issued 04 February 2010

Business leaders have hailed the Government’s flagship Train to Gain programme, saying it has helped them provide vital training to their staff during the downturn.

Both large and small businesses have reaped the benefits of Government funded training support, which is backed up by figures released today by the Learning and Skills Council.

In a survey of employers who use the training initiative, 80 per cent said they were likely to recommend Train to Gain to other employers and use it again themselves. A significant number of employers (41 per cent) also said Train to Gain had helped them cope with the recession.

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“These reports show that businesses value the change to offer staff high quality training, that they otherwise may not have been able to, through Train to Gain.

“Thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of employees have benefited from the improved skills delivered by our Train to Gain programme. This is crucial for the long term strength of the economy and the ability of individuals to fulfil their potential.

“The fact that so many learners and employers understand how vital skills and training can be shows how effective our support has been during difficult economic times. We remain committed to ensuring that as many people as possible get the skills they need to benefit from the opportunities of growth.”

Bristol based MITIE Group PLC, the strategic outsourcing and asset management company, has more than 49,000 members of staff and has used Train to Gain to help with staff development.

Roger Goodman, Corporate Development Director, MITIE, said:

“ Train to Gain has enabled MITIE to support our people with training and qualifications in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. The programme reaches people that are most in need of help and gives them the broad skills they need for work, and a platform from which to go on and develop.”

Small business Best Service Europe LTD, based in Hull, specialises in the design, installation and servicing of bespoke automation systems for the maritime industry.

Managing Director Frank Butterfield, said:

“Train to Gain has revolutionised the way I view our company and how I want it to operate. It has allowed me to identify both our strengths and weaknesses and meet these challenges head on. Everyone is revitalised and keen to continue developing the business. We could even come out of the downturn better placed than when we went into it.”

Since its launch in April 2006, Train to Gain learners have started over 1.54 million qualifications, and there have been over 960,000 qualifications awarded. More than 175,000 employers have been engaged through Train to Gain brokerage services. In 2010-11, the Government plans to invest nearly £1 billion through Train to Gain, building on the £38 billion that employers are already investing in training each year.

The support of businesses for Train to Gain is echoed through the LSC’s figures, taken from over 9,000 employer and 7,000 learner interviews. Businesses have acclaimed the success of Train to Gain, with more than 75 per cent declaring it equipped their staff with valuable job related skills which improved performance.

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the LSC, said:

“This report shows that businesses have used Train to Gain to equip their employees with vital skills that have had a direct impact on their productivity. This is a critical business benefit in tough economic times.

“Workplace training has never been more responsive or flexible to the needs of employers and it is gratifying that more employers recognise the benefits of training their staff so they have a skilled workforce, ready for the upturn. The direct benefit to their business productivity and their employees is clear.”

The employer report also found:

· Train to Gain continues to perform highly in encouraging employers to engage with training and development of staff.

· Employers have been able to train more staff and give them access to higher quality qualifications than they would have done otherwise.

· A high number of employers said Train to Gain helped them engage in training and development of their staff.

The Learner report found:

· Employees’ satisfaction with Train to Gain remained high with more than 90 per cent pleased with their training.

· Nearly 90 per cent of learners said they hoped to get a qualification at the end of their training, with 85 per cent looking for skills that would look good in the future and improved their ability to do their job.

· The recession is having a positive impact on employee attitudes towards training making them keen to boost their chances in an unpredictable economic climate.

The Train to Gain evaluation report follows the recent “Going for Growth” and “Skills for Growth” strategies. These detail how the Government is continuing to invest in skills in order to help drive economic growth and productivity as the country emerges from recession.


1. Today the Learning and Skills Council have published the following reports on Train to Gain, which can be found in the research section at

Train to Gain Learner Evaluation: Report from Wave 5 Research

Train to Gain Employer Evaluation: Sweep 5 Research Report.

2. Managed by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Train to Gain is the Government’s flagship service to support employers in England, of all sizes, and in all sectors, to improve the skills of their employees, unlock talent and drive improved business performance. A key element of Train to Gain are skills brokers who offer employers impartial advice and at no cost, helping them to find the best training solution from high-quality and responsive training.

3. Train to Gain was launched in 2006. Train to Gain is now part of the Solutions for Business portfolio - a streamlined suite of government-funded support products for businesses accessible via Business Link.

· Train to Gain is key to implementing the plans in Skills for Growth and the Government’s ambitions to focus more of the skills budget on the areas of the economy which can do most to drive growth and jobs. Train to Gain offers eligible employers funding for Skills for Life, first full qualifications at work mainly at levels 2 and 3, and leadership and management training for SMEs.

· Through the Business Link and providers’ brokerage services, employers can access advice about how to improve the skills of their employees and the productivity of their business.

4. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published Skills for Growth – the National Skills Strategy in November 2009, which sets out an ambitious vision for giving people and businesses the skills they need to help drive economic growth. The Government will create a modern class of technicians through a dramatic expansion of advanced apprenticeships, creating 35,000 new places over the next two years. For further information, see:

5. For more information contact press office on 020 7215 5951.

Case studies:

Best Service Europe Ltd:

Hull based Best Service Europe Ltd specialises in the design, installation and servicing of bespoke automation systems for the maritime industry. With a product range spanning satellite TV, internet facilities, lighting, air conditioning and alarm systems, the company services a range of vessels including super yachts, cruise liners and oil tankers.

Like many small businesses, Best Service Europe Ltd has been adversely affected by the current economic climate. With potential clients looking to reduce their expenses, new business opportunities were difficult to find.

Frank Butterfield, Managing Director said: “As customer enquiries began to dry up we needed to adapt quickly to the new market conditions in order to survive. Part of our problem was our marketing strategy – it was quite confusing and customers didn’t really understand our business and the range of products and services on offer.

“I realised we needed to develop a competitive edge and improving the team’s skills levels was a crucial part of achieving this.”

Through Business Link, Frank contacted his local independent broker to discuss the training options available through Train to Gain and a Leadership and Management training course was recommended.

As Frank said, “Whilst I knew the business benefits training might bring, I was concerned it might be too time consuming. When I discovered Train to Gain would provide the advice and support needed and training could take place at convenient times, it really did seem like the best option.”

The Leadership and Management training has already had a positive impact on Frank. He is now much clearer about the direction he wants to take his company and by developing his marketing skills is much more confident about attracting new business.

“It really has made a difference”, Frank said, “I now have the skills to begin working on a new website and feel the business is moving in the right direction. More people understand our company now and I’m much more positive.”

The business has also benefited from the training. Frank has seen an increase in the number of enquiries from potential clients.

Frank added, “Train to Gain has revolutionised the way I view our company and how I want it to operate. It’s allowed me to identify both our strengths and weaknesses and meet these challenges head on. Everyone is revitalised and keen to continue developing the business. We could even come out of the downturn better placed than when we went into it.”


Established in 1987, MITIE employs approximately 49,000 staff in various businesses across the group providing facilities, property and asset management to some of the UK’s biggest private and public sector organisations. The MITIE Group has annual revenue of £1.2 billion.

MITIE has held a National Employer Service contract since November 2008, delivering Train to Gain NVQs in Cleaning and Security.

MITIE has a number of principal sites located across UK, with Head Offices in Bristol. Other main sites include Tamworth, Manchester and London.

MITIE focuses on cleaning, security, facilities and property management services operating across most industry sectors with a mix of public and commercial contracts.

- The company has used Skills for Life training as a means to upskill their cleaning workforce who account for approx 38,000 of total workforce, many of whom struggle with entry-level skills in literacy and numeracy.

Train to Gain is delivered in cleaning and security with plans to expand skills plans and qualifications group wide imminently. Train to Gain supports vocational skills and competence and MITIE are also developing Apprenticeships in cleaning, security and facilities management (FM).

Business benefits have been:

- Increased productivity - Improved quality of service which increases contract retention and is an effective tool to secure new contracts - Reduced wastage, cost and increased efficiency - Improved Health and Safety - Competitive edge in industry sector

- Perception as an employer of choice.

For further information the case studies, please contact LSC press office on 02476 82 3515.

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© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-02-04 14:25:25 in Employee Articles

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