The Government has announced that the number of people gaining a qualification through the Train to Gain programme has hit the one million mark.

The millionth learner, Chris Scott, a process operator at chemical manufacturer William Blythe Ltd, in Accrington, completed his level 2 NVQ in Business Improvement Techniques on January 29 this year. Chris’s work involves manufacturing chemicals and handling finished materials. He is one of 62 people at William Blythe Ltd to have completed a qualification through Train to Gain.

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“This is a great achievement for the programme and for each of the one million people who have now gained a qualification that will help them get on at work. With new skills they can further their own careers and make a significant impact on the business they work for.

“Train to Gain has been hugely effective and both learners and employers have seen the benefits. Chris’s hard work and determination is a great example of the results the programme can have and the rewards that are there for employers who invest in their workforce.”

Chris said:

“Learning new skills on the job and working on projects in teams has helped us to quickly make improvements to the way we work. We all feel pleased to have got this qualification and if it allows us to win new business then it will be a success all round.”

Tim Hughes, Managing Director, William Blythe Ltd, said:

“Training our workforce in this way has been a good business decision. All businesses are going to increasingly rely on the skills of their employees if they are to compete effectively in the future.

“This investment has provided the skills needed to improve problem solving, teamwork and continuous improvement across the business. I am proud of the achievement made by our employees.”

In a recent LSC survey of employers who use the training initiative, 80 per cent said they were likely to recommend Train to Gain to other employers and use it again themselves. A significant number of employers (41 per cent) also said Train to Gain had helped them cope with the recession.

Geoff Russell, LSC Chief Executive said:

“Congratulations to Chris Scott, the one millionth learner, and to his employer William Blythe Ltd. Train to Gain has made a real difference to employers and more than three-quarters of all businesses say using Train to Gain gave their workforce valuable job-related skills and resulted in increased performance.

“Businesses like William Blythe benefit from better motivated, more skilled and more committed staff. This leads to better services and products, which is crucial for long-term competitiveness.

“I’m delighted that employees like Chris are benefiting from gaining qualifications through Train to Gain. Businesses like William Blythe Ltd are not only accessing the benefits of Train to Gain to invest in the skills the economy needs now and in the future, but reaffirming their commitment to training their workforce by making their own investment in further training.”

More than 175,000 employers have now been engaged through Train to Gain brokerage services. In 2010-11, the Government plans to invest nearly £1 billion through Train to Gain, building on the £38 billion that employers are already investing in training each year.