British independent surface coatings manufacturer, HMG Paints of Manchester, was among a select group of 150 employers signing a 'skills pledge' to continue training its staff, at a Central London event attended by incoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the Secretary of State for Education & Skills, Alan Johnson.
The pledge represents a commitment to support all employees to develop literacy and numeracy skills and work towards full Level 2 qualifications, equivalent to five good GCSE's. Stephen Falder, HMG Marketing Director and board member, represented the family-owned firm, which employs around 165 staff, at the official launch of the Skills Pledge on Thursday 14 th June, hosted by Skills Envoy, Sir Digby Jones. Also attending the event were Secretary of State for Works & Pensions, John Hutton, the Director General of the CBI, Richard Lambert, TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, and Sir Michael Rake, newly-appointed Chair of the UK Commission for Employment & Skills.
More than 150 organisations, including all Central Government Departments, the Police and leading employers Ford, McDonalds, Nissan and Sainsbury's, made voluntary commitments alongside HMG, covering some 1.7 million employees. "Skills are self-evidently the major difference between success and failure in our own Paint & Coatings industry, so we are keenly aware that it is not simply the machinery and chemistry of our products that allow us to excel, but the skills and enthusiasm of our workforce," says Stephen Falder, who was presented with a Skills Pledge certificate signed by Gordon Brown.
Welcoming the first tranche of employers to sign up to this initiative, Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, said: "Skills are vitally important for individuals, their future employability and for the success of business throughout the UK. That is why I am so pleased to see so many companies making the Skills Pledge and helping us to meet the challenges set out in Lord Leitch's."
Published in December 2006, Lord Leitch's independent review of skills warned that the UK mus'raise its game' at all levels, if it is to sustain and improve its position in the global economy. His analysis required that 95% of adults should achieve basic skills of functional literacy and numeracy by 2020, with more than 90% qualified to at least Level 2.
The Skills Pledge is at the heart of a new partnership between Government and employers, to encourage and support their employees in achieving these goals, in return for which the Government will provide access to skills brokers and suitable training.
Based in Collyhurst and marketing its paints and surface coatings across the world, HMG has a successful 77 year record in business and a strong reputation for training and retaining its staff, the average tenure for whom is 14 years. "We are delighted to pledge our commitment to developing the skills of those who work for us," says HMG's Managing Director, John Falder. "We see this as an opportunity to raise our skill levels still further and welcome the Government's promise to provide us with the appropriate resources."
Further enquiries to:
HMG Paints, Riverside Works, Collyhurst Road, Manchester M40 7RU, telephone 0161 205 7631