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Semta Chief Executive to retire

13 March 2012

Philip Whiteman, chief executive of sector skills council Semta is to retire at the end of May.

The change comes as Semta gears up to lead a new era for vocational training where employers take ownership of developing and delivering sustainable solutions which improve productivity, long-term growth and competitiveness.

In the last six months Semta has secured UK Commission for Employment investment totalling over £5 million to deliver three work streams which will provide high impact skills solutions for science, engineering and manufacturing companies. These will focus on supply chain companies and, in particular SMEs, to increase and improve their investment in existing workforce skills and recruitment of apprentices and graduates.

Semta is working with The National Apprenticeship Service to deliver apprenticeship frameworks to meet employer needs such as a higher level apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing.

Said Philip Whiteman: “We have seen huge change in the skills landscape in my eight years as chief executive. Semta has delivered real results for employers with a 50% increase in N/SVQ registrations in ten years and a 24% increase in engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship starts last year alone. We have qualifications, frameworks, diagnostics and training courses that meet the specific needs of advanced manufacturing and engineering. “

Mr Whiteman joined Semta in 1991 and worked his way up to chief executive. He holds a number of non-executive directorships with the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, Stemnet, and WISE. His successor will be selected by Semta’s board chaired by Allan Cook CBE, chairman of WS Atkins plc, chairman of SELEX Galileo Ltd and deputy chairman of Marshalls Group.

Continued Whiteman: “We are moving into a new phase where employers have the opportunity to shape skills provision and co-invest in the design and delivery of vocational training. I’m leaving Semta well-positioned for the future and leading the skills development required for economic growth and sustainability. The key challenge ahead for Semta – and indeed all sector skills councils, is to create a viable, commercial business model.”

Allan Cook added: “Philip has been instrumental in developing Semta as one of the UK’s leading Sector Skills Councils. He has worked hard to ensure that our employer needs are well represented. The landscape for the development for skills in our sector has changed considerably over the past few years and Semta has responded positively to these changing demands. I would like to thank Philip personally for his leadership at Semta and wish him well in his retirement.”

An ageing workforce and continued technical advancements mean that UK engineering and manufacturing needs to recruit and train 82,000 engineers, scientists and technologists by 2016 and to upskill 363,000 of the technical workforce to achieve world class standards.

Semta’s skills experts can help companies improve business performance by developing training plans, finding available funding and quality providers, and advising on employing an apprentice or a graduate. Support is available through a range of cost-effective training interventions covering leadership and management, technical skills and productivity improvement and through the free Semta Apprenticeship Service, which manages and funds apprentice training.

Businesses interested in finding out more should contact Semta Customer Services on 0845 643 9001 or customerservices@semta.org.uk or visit www.semta.org.uk
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