Wicks Rings the Changes for Telecom National Training Organization

May 4, 2001

Malcolm Wicks, Minister for Lifelong Learning, today asked the e-skills National Training Organisation (NTO) to extend its scope to cover the telecommunications and call handling sectors. This was the outcome of a consultation on NTO arrangements for the telecommunications industry.

Announcing his decision, Mr Wicks said; Major employers from the telecommunications sector have told us that their industry is increasingly reliant on specialist IT skills as technology in the IT, Communication and Electronics sectors continue to converge. Those who responded to the consultation have expressed a clear preference for e-skills NTO to be given responsibility for the sector. Together, these companies employ over 180,000 people in the UK, representing around 80% of the sectors UK workforce.

The telecommunications industry is facing some serious challenges at the present time, and the development of high level skills will become increasingly important. I know that e-skills NTO, with the active support of employers, will play a key part in supporting companies to equip their workforce with the skills needed for the 21st century.

We will be talking to the NTO on the detailed transitional arrangements, to ensure that employers from the telecommunications and call handling sectors are fully represented.