Category: fldfrswd

Skills initiatives are missing the mark

first_imgThere is a gap between training spend and result according to the recentlypublished National Employers Skills Survey (NESS) 2003. The findings of the survey – commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council(LSC) – paint a gloomy picture of the state of skills and training in England.Despite employers spending more than £4.5bn on training and an estimated extra£10bn in terms of staff time, only around half of employees are benefiting, itis claimed. More than a fifth of employers reported skills gaps in their workforce,which were adversely affecting their business. Yet only 39 per cent had atraining plan and less than a third (31 per cent) had a training budget inplace. A massive 72,000 interviews were carried out between April and June lastyear for the survey – the largest of its kind. It included the smallest firms(employing up to five staff) right up to major organisations, in 27 sectorsacross England. “The biggest surprise was finding that 2.4 million employees wereconsidered by their employers not to be fully proficient in their jobs,”said Stephen Gardner, director of skills and workforce development at LSC. “Skills gaps between applicants and job vacancies are consistent withwhat we have seen in the past. The sectors where the shortages were identifiedwere as expected, but there are huge variations across the board,” hesaid. While 43 per cent of employees lacked practical and technical skills, thehigh instance of ‘soft skills’ deficiencies was unexpected. Where staff werejudged by their employer not to be up to the job, 61 per cent were seen to lackcommunication skills, 55 per cent customer handling skills and 52 per cent wereshort on teamworking skills. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) sees the survey – conductedbefore the launch of the Skills Strategy last year – as supporting thedirection of the Government and the LSC. DfES spokesman, Philip Treloar, said: “We now have the funds to maketraining available to the workforce and the more employers we can get involvedin funded learning the better.” By Elaine EsseryThis story was taken from the latest issue if Training Magazine, out on 2March.  Subscribe at Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Skills initiatives are missing the markOn 24 Feb 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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US Navy’s newest destroyer to be commissioned in July

first_img View post tag: US Navy US Navy’s newest destroyer to be commissioned in July Share this article March 10, 2017 View post tag: USS Rafael Peralta View post tag: Arleigh Burke-class Authorities Back to overview,Home naval-today US Navy’s newest destroyer to be commissioned in July The U.S. Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, PCU Rafael Peralta (DDG115), will be commissioned July 29 in California, acting secretary of the U.S. Navy Sean J. Stackley has announced.The ceremony will take place at Naval Air Station North Island.Rafael Peralta is the 65th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the third of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships. It is the first warship named for Navy Cross recipient Sgt. Rafael Peralta.The keel of Rafael Peralta was laid down in fall of 2014 and the ship was christened October 31, 2015 during a ceremony at the Bath Iron Works facility in Bath, Maine, and then launched on November 1, 2015.The destroyer is equipped with the Aegis baseline 9 combat system, which includes an integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capability, incorporating the ballistic missile defense 5.0 capability upgrade (BMD 5.0CU) and naval integrated fire control-counter air (NIFC-CA).The 65th Arleigh Burke class destroyer and the first of the DDG 51 FLT IIA restart ships to be built at Bath Iron Works will be stationed at Naval Base San Diego.last_img read more

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News story: International Trade Secretary secures major deal for UK dairy in China

first_imgInternational Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP today (Thursday 23 August) met with China’s General Administration of Customs to reach an agreement which would allow the import of UK dairy products made with milk from third countries. The agreement is estimated to be worth £240 million over 5 years to the UK.With demand for most dairy categories growing by more than 20% each year in China, it is one of the country’s fastest growing areas of food demand. The UK exported over £96 million of dairy products to China in 2017, and there has been significant interest in the market following the Prime Minister and Dr Fox’s visit earlier this year.This deal means that producers will have increased flexibility on sourcing the dairy they use for their products.The UK government is determined to open up agricultural opportunities to British businesses, and today’s announcement follows the Chancellor’s visit to China where he announced a lifting of a two-decades long ban on beef. The deal was expected to be worth £250 million.International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said: Whilst in China, Dr Fox is attending a meeting of the UK-China Joint Economic and Trade Commission (JETCO) in Beijing, as well as meeting companies and senior Chinese government ministers to discuss trading opportunities between the 2 countries. Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP commented: Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for China, Richard Burn, added: The appetite in China for UK produce is clearly already strong. However there remains untapped potential across all food and drink categories. Our world-class dairy producers already export £1.7 billion worth of produce per year. This milestone will help to unlock the UK food and drink industry’s full potential forging new trading relationships around the globe. This step shows we can be a truly outward looking Britain outside the European Union. Imports into China of products such as yoghurt, flavoured milk and cheese have seen rapid growth as Chinese consumers increasingly associate these items with nutrition and wellbeing. This is my fourth visit to China this year and I’m delighted to see the completion of this deal, bringing significant benefits to dairy producers across the UK at a time when British food and drink exports are at a record high. China is the UK’s fifth largest trading partner, with exports growing by 28.5% in 2017 when compared with the previous year. As an international economic department, DIT is working with our partners across the world to liberalise international trade by removing barriers to commerce, helping businesses and ensuring greater choice for consumers worldwide. Today’s announcement will boost our £67.5 billion trading relationship even further. Today’s good news will build on the success of the Prime Minister and Dr Fox’s visit to China earlier in the year, when they negotiated a lift on a two-decades-long ban on imports of beef from the UK.last_img read more

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Warburtons’ staff set to strike over pay

first_imgWarburtons’ staff are set to strike following a row between employees and bosses over pay.According to The Bolton News, the plant bakery’s 300 staff from its Hereford Street and Britannia Way sites are preparing to take part in a consultative ballot, taking place between 23 July and 3 August, over potential strike action.Warburtons’ bosses proposed a 2% pay offer to staff, which it refused to move on, and around 95% of employees have rejected the said action.Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), said: “We have met the company today, and they have said the offer can only be improved if we accept changes to terms and conditions, which we feel is unfair.“Our members feel they have already paid a high price through plant closures and redundancies and after the closure of the final salary (pension) scheme.”One unnamed Bolton employee, said: “This is a company with a £550m turnover. They gave £4.7m in bonuses between 17 directors, but our last pay rise was 16 months ago. The union feels that is unsatisfactory and I think it is an insult.“It is just sheer greed by the company. It is supposed to be a family firm, but people’s wages are being eroded by inflation.”A Warburtons spokesman said: “As a major business in the region and with a proud track record as a good employer, we are always willing to have an open dialogue with our employees and their representatives. We believe that after four months of negotiations and in the context of a highly competitive market, our proposal to offer a basic pay rise, along with modest improvements in other areas to fund a further increase, is both fair and reasonable.“Warburtons is committed to continued negotiation with the BFAWU to determine how the current offer can be improved.”last_img read more

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Belles Against Violence seeks to educate College community

first_imgSaint Mary’s College students are working to spread the word about the Belles Against Violence Office, or BAVO. Sophomores Audrina Massey and Kate Hill are both members of the organization, and said they are seeking to create a safer environment at Saint Mary’s. Hill is an ally under the “sub-category” of BAVO known as Green Dot.“As an ally we make sure … that we are made available to those people to let them know that we are confidential sources they can come and talk to,” Hill said.Massey is on the Student Advisory Committee, or SAC, and also works on the Green Dot committee. Massey explained all of the committees come together to work on their common mission.“Each committee has their own events but work together to really put on events and spread awareness and education about sexual assault, sexual violence and relationship stalking and how to maybe help those who have been a victim, or a survivor,” she said.Hill explained that Green Dot “focuses on trying to prevent red dot situations.” Red dot situations include any form of sexual assault, sexual violence or relationship stalking.“We stand by survivors and offer our support to those that we can. By spreading awareness, we hope to make the warning signs more apparent and inform as many people as possible,” Hill said.In doing so, red dots can become green dots as more people become prepared and knowledgeable for when a red dot situation occurs, Hill said.With several resources on campus, BAVO offers confidential resources where students can discuss their story with a peer without any obligation to report their experiences. Massey added other confidential resources at Saint Mary’s include Campus Ministry, as well as Health and Counseling. She said BAVO is a point of contact for anyone who has experienced sexual assault, sexual violence or relationship stalking.BAVO puts on several events throughout the academic year. Last week was Green Dot Activism Week, which included events to spread knowledge to the students and faculty about BAVO and Green Dot. Another event BAVO put on was called “Guac and Talk.”“We just had an open space for people to discuss any issues on campus regarding sexual assault, sexual violence and relationship stalking, and things maybe BAVO can do better,” Massey said of ‘Guac and Talk.’Coming up in the spring semester is a public event called “Take Back the Night.” The event is designed to support survivors, Massey explained.“It’s a candlelight vigil that starts here at Saint Mary’s and ends at the Grotto at Notre Dame, and it’s a place where people can either share their experience or just show support for all the survivors,” she said. “It’s not just students that take part in it, it’s faculty and staff … It’s a nationwide event that happens every year.”Hill and Massey also encouraged students to participate in Green Dot training sessions that will be held in January, in order to teach participants different skills about how to handle difficult situations.Massey said there are numerous ways to get involved with BAVO.“You can become a BAVO ally, and you can either of course be a part of Green Dot awareness and outreach or events and campaigns,” she said. “You can show your support by coming to events just throughout the year … BAVO is really about helping our students. So that’s what we are trying to do, so if you really just want to watch out for your Belles and just make sure everybody is safe, then I would highly encourage Belles Against Violence.”Tags: Belles Against Violence Office, Green Dot, sexual assaultlast_img read more

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GMP announces dividend

first_imgGREEN MOUNTAIN POWERANNOUNCES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND COLCHESTER, VT . . . Directors of Green Mountain Power Corporation (NYSE:GMP) have announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.22 per share on the utility’s Common Stock, payable December 31, 2004 to holders of record at the close of business on December 17, 2004. The indicated annual dividend rate is $0.88. Green Mountain Power Corporation ( is external)) is a Vermont-based energy services company serving 89,000 electric customers.– 30 —last_img

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Suozzi, Mangano Trade Barbs as County Exec Race Kicks Off

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (Left) faces off against Democrat Tom Suozzi (Right) who is vying for his old position.Well, that didn’t take long.Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and the man who unseated him four years ago, Ed Mangano, traded barbs Thursday as the two rivals officially kicked off the 2013 race for county executive.Suozzi, fresh off his Democratic primary victory Tuesday, held a press conference at the party’s campaign headquarters in East Meadow where he characterized Republican Mangano as a “compulsive borrower” who has mismanaged the county’s finances since taking office in 2009 and has driven Nassau’s debt to historic heights.“The Mangano administration has not cut spending, in fact it increased spending dramatically,” Suozzi blasted.“We are gonna cut up his credit card because that’s what you need to do with compulsive borrowers,” Suozzi added before sticking to his promise (sort of) by taking a pair of scissors to a fake Mangano credit card.Mangano’s administration was quick to respond with familiar attacks about the former county executive’s record of raising taxes.“Tom Suozzi is a compulsive liar and serial tax hiker,” Brian Nevin, Mangano’s chief spokesman shot back in a statement.“Suozzi hiked Nassau’s debt by $402 million while Ed Mangano reduced debt by millions,” he continued. “Tom Suozzi lied when he claimed he wouldn’t raise our taxes…..Suozzi raised property taxes by 23 percent, put a new tax on electricity, natural gas, home heating oil and EVEN tried to place a tax on Food and a toll on the LIE.”Suozzi, the Nassau County Executive from 2002-2009, claimed that Mangano increased the county’s long-term debt by $566 million, pushing it to its current figure of $3.5 billion. The previous high, he said, was $3.2 billion in 2001 under Republican County Executive Tom Gulotta.Mangano’s campaign said the county executive actually decreased total debt by $2.4 million from the end of 2009 to 2012.“Taxpayers couldn’t trust Tom Suozzi then, and they surely can’t trust him now,” Nevin added.Suozzi laid out a range of other concerns regarding the county, including a trimmer Nassau County Police Department, the deterioration of Nassau’s quality of life and its roads and residents still suffering from Superstorm Sandy.Suozzi, apparently re-energized since his ouster, said he’s excited for the next two months and reaffirmed his commitment to Nassau residents if he wins.“I will serve my entire four-year term. I’m not running for any other higher office, I’ve been there I’ve done that,” he said, referencing his failed gubernational bid in 2006.Mangano defeated Suozzi by 386 votes in 2009.Voters will decide who wins the rematch on Nov. 5.last_img read more

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IRS “Future State” could be sad state of affairs

first_img“Nothing is more certain than death and taxes.”  Certainly you’ve heard that expression.  These days there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the future of taxpayer relationships with the IRS.  National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson recently delivered her Annual Report to Congress.  In her report she refers to an IRS vision for its future role vis-à-vis U.S. taxpayers, which has become known as the Future State plan.Unfortunately, some of her conclusions align with our observations that suggest a more remote and less approachable – rather than a kinder, gentler – IRS.  Olson calls out proposed increases in IRS user fees, and the agency’s plans to reduce person-to-person contact and refer some common tax law inquiries to outside, paid professionals.  She sees this as likely to segregate taxpayers into haves and have-nots, those who can afford to pay for tax compliance assistance, and those who may find it beyond their means.  Olson refers to it as a “pay-to-play” policy, and uses as just one example the fee charged by the IRS for a taxpayer who needs to satisfy a tax obligation on an installment basis.  Not only is there a fee, but the IRS has proposed to make this option even more expensive.There are other fees that provide dramatic examples of disadvantaging less affluent taxpayers.  For 2016 the IRS is eliminating its tiered fee structure for requesting relief – via private letter ruling – from the 60-day limit for completing an IRA or employer plan indirect rollover. continue reading » 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Would an imperfect vaccine be useful in a flu pandemic?

first_imgApr 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A mathematical modeling study suggests that a modestly effective vaccine could keep an influenza pandemic from striking more than 10% of the US population, but only if large amounts of vaccine were distributed quickly and the virus was not too highly contagious. The modeling study seems to lend some support to the US strategy of stockpiling a vaccine based on recent strains of H5N1 avian flu, which won’t precisely match an emerging pandemic strain. But the model incorporates many assumptions that may or may not prove accurate in the event of a pandemic, and experts note that very little H5N1 vaccine would be available if a pandemic occurred anytime soon. Germann TC, Kadau K, Longini IM, et al. Mitigation strategies for pandemic influenza in the United States. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2006 Apr 11;103(15):5935-40 [Abstract] Germann and two associates, Kai Kadau and Catherine A. Macken, all of Los Alamos National Laboratory, worked on the study with Ira M. Longini Jr., a biostatistician from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle. See also: “Aggressive” production and distribution of vaccine could control a pandemic with an R of less than 1.9, the model predicted. “We believe that a large stockpile of avian-based vaccine with potential pandemic influenza antigens, coupled with the capacity to rapidly make a better-matched vaccine based on human strains, would be the best strategy to mitigate pandemic influenza,” the authors write. “This effort needs to be coupled with a rapid vaccine distribution system capable of distributing at least 10 million doses per week to affected regions of the U.S.” Other experts who were asked to comment on the study had different reactions. Travel restrictions alone would accomplish little, according to the simulations. A 90% reduction in travel would slow the virus’s spread by only a few days to a few weeks, depending on transmissibility, and would not dent the ultimate size of the pandemic. Other control strategies used alone could limit a pandemic only if the virus had relatively low transmissibility (R of 1.6), the model predicted. For example, targeted use of antiviral drugs could succeed in that case, provided the supply was adequate and close contacts of patients could be quickly identified. But if R were 1.8, the nation would need a “prohibitively large” 51 million treatment courses of antivirals. Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said the situation with the H5N1 vaccine being made for the US government points up the problems with the predictions. As was reported recently, the vaccine seems effective in about half of recipients, but it takes 12 times the dose used in seasonal flu vaccines, he noted. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its goals, the NIH said in a news release, were to determine how to slow the spread of a pandemic virus long enough to permit development and distribution of a well-matched vaccine and also how to limit the number of cases to less than 10% of the population, the percentage in an average flu season. The model projected that without any control effort and an R of 1.9, the virus would spread across the nation within 30 days of its first arrivals, that 122 million people would ultimately fall ill, and that the pandemic would peak in 85 days. With an R number of 2.4 and no control effort, as many as 151 million would get sick, according to the model. William Schaffner, MD, a hospital epidemiologist and professor in the infectious disease division at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said he found the study reassuring, though he had not examined it closely. “The ultimate take-home line was that even a partially effective vaccine is an important part of the strategy,” he said.center_img For a highly transmissible virus (R greater than 1.9), it would take a combination of measures to limit the pandemic, the model predicted. For example, the combined use of vaccination, targeted antiviral use (3 million courses), school closures, social distancing, and travel restrictions could work at an R level as high as 2.4, the authors predict. With a moderately transmissible virus (meaning each case leads to fewer than 1.9 additional cases), “Our model suggests that the rapid production and distribution of vaccines, even if poorly matched to the circulating strains, could significantly slow disease spread and limit the number ill to less than 10% of the population, particularly if children are preferentially vaccinated,” says the report by Timothy C. Germann and colleagues. With a more contagious virus, additional measures such as school closings, travel bans, and antiviral drugs would have to be used in combination with vaccination, says the report published online last week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, a leading pandemic preparedness advocate, had a sharply different view of the study. “I think it’s based on a number of assumptions which in the real world won’t happen,” he said. “The idea that we’ll even have vaccine to consider in terms of dealing with the pandemic is at this point not likely for the vast majority of the world.” Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site, said “any number” of assumptions used in the model could be questioned. “I continue to worry that far too much credence is being put into theoretical models that lack reality testing in the likely world of a pandemic,” he said. “A moderately effective vaccine would work if you could get it into enough people,” said Poland, who directs the Mayo Vaccine Research Group and Program in Translational Immunovirology. “This current vaccine, if we used the whole world manufacturing capacity, offers enough doses for somewhere around 37.5 million people. So that’s not an answer.” He added that it may be necessary to make more than one vaccine, given the different clades (families) of H5N1 virus that have emerged. With a very limited supply of a vaccine for which two doses are recommended, the model showed it would be less helpful to vaccinate a given number of people with the two doses than to give just one dose to twice as many people. The model simulated the unfolding of pandemic flu in a US population of 281 million over 180 days. It factored in US census data about population distribution and commuting patterns and assumptions about the frequency of interpersonal contacts. It assumed that a few infected people would arrive from abroad each day at 14 airports in the United States. The researchers ran the simulations with four different reproductive (R) numbers (the number of additional people infected by each infected person), ranging from 1.6 to 2.4. He added that building up the capacity to treat the sick is important, but the main emphasis in pandemic preparedness should be on vaccination and other preventive measures. “The results [of the study] were so affirming of the general thoughts of the public health community that it’s really very reassuring, and I hope it stimulates further what I think is already a strong effort by HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] to stimulate vaccine production and research on new ways to produce the flu vaccine and make better flu vaccines.” Poland also said no one knows how contagious the next pandemic virus will be. “My understanding is that the estimated R number for the 1918 pandemic was right around 3,” higher than the maximum of 2.4 used in the study, he said. “You wonder now if we truly have a novel subtype that’s easily transmissible, given the travel we have, if we wouldn’t have higher numbers. The average family is bigger than two people.” NIH news release read more

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Russian roulette

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