Liam Byrne MP Regional Minister for the West Midlands
5 St Philip’s Place
Birmingham B3 2PW
?: 0121 352 5237
?: 0121 352 5132
28 February 2008
I am writing to you to seek your support and commitment for a major initiative I launched recently
across all public services in the region to boost skills and productivity and to accelerate the
regeneration of local communities.
As the largest employment sector with 640,000 employees or 27.5% of the region’s workforce, I believe there is a central role for the public sector to play in skills and employment, alongside its
core role in service delivery.
At the recent TUC conference the Prime Minister set out a bold ambition to create 5 million skilled
jobs over the next decade to give the British workforce a real stake in our economic success and a
full share in the nation’s prosperity.
I want the West Midlands to lead and I want you, as public service employers, to give a lead to the
wider employer community in making this vision a reality.
The rationale and detailed proposals behind this initiative are set out in the attached paper, but the
proposition is very simple. I want us to set ourselves three key challenges for the next three years.
1. Increasing the number of people under 25 employed in public services by 25%
This will mean 8,000 new Apprenticeships, representing a 20% increase in the overall number
of apprentices in the region. This critical investment in our future skills needs will also make a
major contribution to reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or
2. Upskilling 75,000 public service employees to Level 2 (five good GCSEs or equivalent)
This will not only boost productivity and service improvements in the public sector, but also
make a significant contribution to raising the skills base of the regional economy.
3. Recruiting 10,000 local people without jobs into entry level and essential occupations
This will lead to major reductions in worklessness in our most deprived neighbourhoods and
communities with the wider benefits of regeneration and social cohesion.
So what am I looking for from you? I would like you to make a public commitment by signing up to
the Government’s Skills and Jobs Pledge. Then, with the combined support from the Learning and
Skills Council and Jobcentre Plus, I would like you to develop a brief action plan setting out how
you, as an organisation, intend to respond to these challenges.
In return, we will make available the support and investment to deliver our side of the bargain with
the best package of support for employment and skills we have ever had. We are doubling the
number of Apprenticeships; our new Train to Gain service is available to all employers and is
already helping upskill over 25,000 employees in over 7,000 organisations across the West
Midlands; and our Local Employment Partnerships, launched by Gordon Brown at the TUC
Conference, will help create 250,000 jobs nationally in our most disadvantaged communities.
I very much hope you will be able to support this key initiative which I regard as a top priority for the
region. If you feel ready to make a commitment to the Skills and Jobs Pledge or would like to
discuss the range of support available then you should contact Julie Robson, Regional Skills
Director, Learning and Skills Council, 15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham, B5 5 JU or email
Liam Byrne MP
Regional Minister for the West Midlands