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Issue Date:- 26 May 2008


MERSEYSIDE'S leading employers made a firm commitment to boosting the area’s skills when they gathered at a Skills Pledge Roadshow, held 20.5.08 at Liverpool Cathedral.

David Lammy, Minister for Skills was joined by Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) at the event, organised by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North West.

Dantech UK, Wincanton and the FRC Group were amongst the area’s businesses that put their weight behind the Skills Pledge, through which employers commit to supporting their employees to develop basic skills and gain a relevant qualification to a minimum of NVQ Level 2, the equivalent of 5 GCSEs.

Employers can access support to deliver on their Skills Pledge through Train to Gain, a service managed and funded by the LSC that helps businesses find the training they need for their employees and provides funding towards the cost of training.

Five employers showed a united front by making the Skills Pledge at the event, and in doing so, demonstrated the importance of investing in workforce skills, in a bid to increase their productivity and in turn, improve the economic performance of Merseyside.

Addressing the audience David Lammy said:- “As the Skills Pledge approaches its first anniversary almost 2,500 organisations employing 3.7 million people have made the Pledge.

It’s an excellent start, but there’s still a great challenge ahead. 

The success of the UK economy is inextricably linked to the skills of its workforce and we must ensure that our people have the right training and qualifications to match the changing needs of business.

I’d like to congratulate all the employers that have shown their dedication to their employees by making the Skills Pledge today. 

I hope that this strong support for the Pledge will encourage other Merseyside employers to get on board and follow their lead.”

John Korzeniewski, Regional Director of the LSC in the North West added:- “People are an employer’s greatest asset; so investing in them makes sound business sense.

Simply by committing to upskilling their workforce and creating a clear path for staff development, businesses are not only helping to increase the nation’s skills levels but are securing their long term commercial health.”

Since credit crunch almost half of Britons less likely to sign contracts!!!

A new survey for AOL BroadbandWireless Flexi has found that 44% of British consumers are now less likely to take out a contract for a service as a result of the credit crunch.  The finding comes at a time of heightened economic instability, and highlights the reluctance of people to sign up to long term financial commitments.  The survey asked 1000 adults aged 18+ about their attitudes to contracts and commitments of all types, be it relationships, loyalty or utility contracts.

Further to this, 47% of respondents say that since the credit crunch their contracts make them feel pinned down, and a massive 79% of respondents said that they would choose a no-contract service over an identical one based on a contract.  The evidence suggests that Britain is gearing up for a no-ties 'Free-Me' approach to their financial outgoings.

A mercenary 66% of British people however, say they do not mind signing a service contract if it gets them a better overall deal, and further to this 34% like the security of being in a service contract.

David Pagliari, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing of AOL Broadband said:- “We all know that the long term commitment of a mortgage has become more difficult since the credit crunch took hold, but what this research shows is that we are now far more wary about entering into any long term contracts.  I think the message is that consumers now expect the flexibility to choose whether they sign up to a contract for their services or not.  It is clearly an important factor, with 79% of our respondents saying that contracts or the lack of them are a deciding factor when looking at services.  Our new Wireless Flexi package offers wireless broadband with no minimum term and no cancellation fee.”

Part of this desire for flexibility may be reflected in the fact that 59% of people in Great Britain have switched from one supplier to another for services provided to them in the last 12 months.  Particularly high on the list of services that have been switched is home broadband, 25% of people with home broadband have switched Internet supplier during this time.  Insurance was the only service above it, with 28% saying that has switched insurance providers in the last month.

Elsewhere the survey found that 68% of the respondents felt tied down by some aspect of their lives.  The top three things in life that made them feel tied down were Job (31%), mortgage (27%) and service contracts (21%).  Surprisingly the age group that felt the most tied down was the 25-34 year olds (81%).

While people are spurring commitments and opting for a Free-Me lifestyle, with 62% of the population saying that they want more flexibility in their lives, it seems that the exception to this rule is our relationships.  We value close friendships, most of the country (78%) tend to have a small number of long-term friends that they stay in touch with, while 19% say they tend to have lots of friends that fit in with their current lifestyle.  Also, 72% of us are in, or are looking for a serious relationship.

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