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In the news: Mark Haysom

Mark Haysom, the Learning and Skills Council's newly appointed chief executive, can expect to find himself on a steep learning curve.

After graduating in English from Leicester University, he has spent nearly 30 years working his way up a career ladder in journalism and management from trainee reporter on the Grimsby News to managing director of national newspapers at Trinity Mirror, which includes the Daily Mirror and Sunday People among its titles.

His experience may stand him in good stead when he faces tough questioning from the media about the LSC's faltering progress towards achieving the government's training and skills targets. John Harwood, who has headed the LSC since its formation three years ago and retires in September, frequently found himself off balance in this arena.

But Mr Haysom will need as many transferable skills as he can muster as he takes up the reins of the LSC's £9 billion-a-year training programme, which is at the core of the government's recently published skills strategy. He will need to get to grips with the relationship between the central council in Coventry and its 47 regional arms, and with reorganisation of 14-to-19 learning under way following area reviews across the country.

"It is clearly a challenging role, but one I will relish," was all he would say as his appointment was announced on Tuesday.

Bryan Sanderson, LSC chairman, was more expansive on the nature of the challenge. He said: "We are embarking on a major internal restructuring to deliver cost savings and improve links with employers, schools, colleges and other providers. We are conducting a radical review of learning provision. We are a key delivery agent for the government's recent skills strategy white paper. Mark will bring a fresh perspective and impetus to running a large, complex organisation such as the LSC."

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