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Promoting Skills Through Public Procurement

In the current challenging economic climate, it is vital that we continue to invest in our nation"s skills. It is the nations and businesses that invest in their people during the hard times that will emerge as winners when the global economic outlook improves. Government has a key part to play in ensuring that we continue to develop the skills and unlock the talents of the workforce. Public procurement - worth around £220 billion a year - provides us with a unique opportunity to drive investment in skills and training and ensure that public authorities can maximise value for money through a highly skilled workforce delivering key public services.

Through the Joint Statement  PDF (238 KB) Government has already committed to address the basic literacy and numeracy skills needs of service providers" employees. In the 2008 Pre-Budget Report, Government went further, in committing that whenever Departments or Agencies let construction contracts, they will look to include a requirement that the successful contractor has apprentices as a proportion of the workforce. The Government also signaled its intention to develop similar commitments in other key sectors, including IT.


The 2004 Procurement Directives determined the scope to take skills issues into account at relevant stages of the procurement process.

In order to help public procurers make a reality of these commitments, Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and DIUS (Now BIS, Department for Business Innovation and Skills) published guidance on 17 April 2009 on how to embed skills and training in procurements within the boundaries of the EU Procurement Directives and UK regulations:

Further information on the Train to Gain service and Apprenticeships programme is available from BIS Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

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