More money for social work training

Health minister Jacqui Smith has announced government plans to
repeat a £15m social care training fund for 2002-3 in each of
the next three years.

The training strategy implementation fund, which is used to develop
and support NVQ training in the care sector, is to be distributed
through Topss England as was the case last year when it was

Smith also unveiled how two social care training grants, announced
at the end of last year, would be spent.

The £25m national training strategy grant is to be used to
increase vocational qualifications for recently qualified students
to help employers meet the national minimum service standards. All
councils will need to ensure that part of their workforce has had
access to these courses.

The new £9m human resources strategy development grant is to
be divided into two parts. A main £8m programme will help
employers develop and implement their human resources policies. The
remaining £1m will go towards an NHS programme to explore
multi-skilling among health and social care staff.

Both grants will be distributed to local authorities, but Smith
told delegates that half would have to be passed on to voluntary
and community groups and private companies to boost their training

Smith said she shared the voluntary sector’s exasperation with the
way councils had failed to support the training needs of other

“We are putting emphasis on local authorities to better commission
services to voluntary and private groups and with that comes the
responsibility to improve training for those sectors,” she said.

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