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66 PROFILE
NICE
LITTLE
LEARNER
In June this year, Marinos Paphitis, the new
Regional Director of the government’s Learning
and Skills Council, took on an operating budget
of £1.3bn and a capital budget of £1.7bn and only
two short years to accomplish his mission, which
is to improve the skills of the South East workforce.
Nick Peters went to meet him.
Marinos Paphitis is a remarkably ebullient fellow, given the enormity
of his task. Sitting in his office on Brighton’s Queen’s Road, he smiles
constantly, exuding confidence not only in the worth of his mission
but also in the ability of his 300-strong team to achieve it. And it has
to be completed by 2010, when the Learning and Skills Council
(LSC) is disbanded and its place taken by three separate agencies
that will focus on the LSC’s core missions, namely upgrading the
skills of the adult workforce and helping young people to acquire
the learning and skills for work.
It will be no mean feat if he pulls it off. Not only are some sections
of the UK business community blind to the virtues of training, we are
also in the midst of a downturn which can only exacerbate that
weakness and possibly persuade some of those companies that
do spend money on training to stop.
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