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Issue Date:- 25/27 August 2008


SPORTS enthusiasts across the world will turn their attention from China to Liverpool...

For just as the 2008 Olympic Games close, the 2008 World Firefighters Games begin.

Both uniformed and non-uniformed fire service workers across the region will be flying the flag for the North West in the 67 event mini Olympics.

Members of Britain and Europe’s biggest public sector union UNISON will be among the competitors, including Greater Manchester Fire Branch members Janice Pugh and Paul Warburton.

Janice, who chairs UNISON’s North West Regional Fire Forum, is running the half-marathon on Tuesday, 26 August 2008 and Paul is taking part in the 5K run the following week.

UNISON’s Regional Officer for fire service members, Mike Booth, said:- “This is the 10th World Fire Fighters Games and is being hosted by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

It’s fitting that the games are being held in Liverpool in the year that the city has been awarded the status of European Capital of Culture.

The Games bring fire service personnel from across the world together and enable UNISON members to show that working for a fire brigade isn’t just about fighting fires.

Delivering a fire and rescue service is a team effort just like hosting and taking part in a major sporting event.  However, the jobs UNISON members do such as paying the salaries and wages, repairing the fire appliances, maintaining and cleaning the fire stations are often unsung.

These Games give our members a chance to step into the limelight and show they are an important part of the fire service team alongside uniformed staff.”

More than 5000 competitors will take part in the Games, which run from 24 August to 3 September 2008.

As well as the many sporting events, there will be a full social and family programme throughout with an Olympic Village in operation at the new Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre on Liverpool’s waterfront.

UNISON is hosting a stall at the event.


THE Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in the North West has recently announced the appointment of 13 council members to form a new Regional Council.  Set up as part of the Further Education and Training Act 2007, the new Regional Council will lead the LSC’s regional and local presence; informing decision making, guiding progress and ensuring the successful delivery of the LSC’s agenda in the North West.  The 13 council members will act as guiding voices, translating national and regional strategy into practice and effectively investing the LSC's budget over the next few years.  The Act was introduced to streamline the LSC’s ‘non-executive tier’ following the replacement of 47 Local Councils with the nine Regional Councils in existence today.  This move has resulted in a more simplified, less bureaucratic structure, as well as being aligned to the organisation of the LSC executive team.  In this way, the new councils reflect both the local and regional needs of learners and employers.  Appointed members are required to have a combination of business, education, training and community experience in order to contribute to the balance of the board.  As a result of a successful recruitment drive earlier this year, the LSC in the North West received a significant number of applications for key positions on the Regional Council, including those from many leading businessmen and women in the region. 
The appointed council members all demonstrate a strong commitment to learning and skills, and are from a diverse range of sectors and backgrounds.  The new council consists of representatives from educational establishments, trade unions and from the public and private sector.  The same recruitment drive also the saw the reappointment of Roger Hoyle on the 1 June 20008, as the Regional Chair of the LSC in the North West.  Congratulating the new Regional Council members, LSC chair Chris Banks said:- “We have a single aim; to improve the skills of the nation, and over the next few years the LSC – supported by the new Regional Councils – has a huge and important role to play.  Our aim is to work with the Further Education sector to ensure that we continue to respond effectively to the changing needs of individual learners, employers and wider communities, and to secure the skills we need to remain competitive as a country.  I am delighted that we have been able to attract such a high calibre of membership to our new Regional Councils from a wide range of sectors and backgrounds.  The Regional Councils will provide challenge, support and leadership to the LSC’s work, and in doing so will help shape a world class education and skills system for the North West region.”  Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell, added:- “The Government is committed to delivering the world class education and learning system that we need if we are to compete effectively in a global economy.  The nine new Regional Councils will have a vital role to play in ensuring that in all regions we have the skills needed to strengthen our economic performance and to transform the ambitions and life chances of millions of people.”

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