Environmental groups get skills funding boost

Government earmarks £2.5m to help improve training and recruitment for charities and voluntary groups

The government has announced a skills body designed to help charities and voluntary groups with recruitment and training of staff.

The Third Sector skills body, as the organisation will be known, will provide about £2.5m worth of funding to help develop standard approaches to training and other development issues.

"Charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises deal with some of the most challenging social and environmental issues," said Kevin Brenan, minister for the Third Sector - the government's name for charities and voluntary organisations.

The funding will come from the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) in the Cabinet Office, as well as the Department for Innovation and Skills (DIUS). A board representing the sector's employers will provide direction for the body, the government claims.

"The Third Sector skills body will be a real step change to how charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups get the skills they need," said Lord Young, minister for skills and apprenticeships. "As well as developing programmes to plug the immediate skill gaps, it will link the third sector into the complete national skills framework and influence the development of skills support services for the benefit of the sector."

In a recent article for BusinessGreen, environmental recruitment specialist and co-founder of recruitment agency Bright Green Talent, Paul Hannam, said training people for green jobs will take a lot of investment to realise the growth that some are predicting for the sector. "The green jobs movement will need to invest millions in training programmes - and at times take calculated risks - to bring on board green employees who can do a good job and keep a company's reputation clean and green."

But despite the funding available and the government's ambitious plans for the body, leading environment charities contacted by BusinessGreen.com - including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace - seemed unaware of the announcement.

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