New Third Sector skills body announced by Government 21/10/08
Government Ministers have announced that £2.5million will be made available over the next three years to set up a brand new skills body for the third sector.

The aim is to open up thousands of new learning and development opportunities for people working and volunteering in the third sector across the UK.

Speaking at the NCVO Mind the Gap conference, Minister for the Third Sector Kevin Brennan, and Skills Minister Lord Young of Norwood Green committed funding for a new organisation to be responsible for supporting skills development in the third sector.

On behalf of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, Skills for Justice – the sector skills council for Justice – will act as an ‘incubator’ for the new Third Sector Skills body in its early days, providing premises it can operate from and back office support.

Alan Woods OBE, CEO of Skills for Justice, said: “On behalf of the Alliance I welcome the decision to set up a new third sector skills body. The third sector makes an invaluable contribution to society and the economy. Its workforce, many of whom are volunteers, deserve the best support we can give them.

“At Skills for Justice and the other Sector Skills Councils, we already work very closely with third sector organisations, but this will give us the opportunity to address the big, cross-cutting skills needs the third sector needs to address, and enable us to find more innovative ways of engaging all the sectors of the economy.”

John Rogers, chair of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, added: “This is excellent news and I look forward to working with the new Third Sector Skills body, alongside colleagues from other SSCs.

“It really cannot be stressed enough the contribution that the third sector makes to society as a whole, especially in raising funds, the huge contribution of volunteers across the UK and the campaigning for good causes across the globe.”

The new body will look to have an impact on third sector employers, resulting in direct support from SSCs leading to quality learning and development opportunities.

Information, specifically crafted for the third sector, will be available to help people make informed choices, and innovative solutions created to meet their skills needs.

The new third sector skills body will aim to:

* be a powerful voice, working with and influencing Sector Skills Councils in meeting the needs of the third sector organisations they cover
* be an influential advocate in the national debate on skills
* ensure that the national skills system addresses those cross-cutting needs unique to the third sector, like fundraising and campaigning
* lead the drive to spread the word about skills development opportunities to third sector employers, in ways that are accessible and a part of their normal communication channels
* consider the skills needs of all of the third sector, including the voluntary sector, charities, community organisations and social enterprises.

Although it will not be a Sector Skills Council, the new skills body will be positioned firmly alongside SSCs, benefiting from the early support and help of Skills for Justice.



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