The scheme includes 3.5 million basic skills courses over three years for people with poor educational qualifications, as well as 120,000 new apprenticeships for the under-25s and 30,000 places for older workers.
Today's announcement comes after Prime Minister Gordon Brown's promise at Labour's annual conference to create “British jobs for British workers”. It is intended to tackle the lack of skills which blocks many of those on benefits from taking up vacancies which exist in the economy.
The move was welcomed by Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of Unite. “The problem is that there has been a collapse of apprenticeship training, for example in construction. That’s the responsibility of employers.
“To succeed in the 21st century we need a high-skill economy. Employers have failed to train. In future, if you want taxpayers' money in contracts, for example to build the Olympics, then attached to that should be an obligation to train workers who are out of work to get them into work.”