Discrepancies in the funding arrangements of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have heavily impacted college building programmes and budget allocations for schools, it has emerged in recent weeks. However, providers now fear crucial training for many of the country’s most disadvantaged young people is also in danger of being cut back.
The Association of Training Providers (ALP) wrote to Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, to warn against planned cuts to the Entry to Employment (E2E) training programme.
E2E providers, many of which are charities or not-for-profit organisations, say they have been unable to get confirmation of funding for those who have already joined the scheme, and for many who wish to start either now or in the near future. Coupled with the far-reaching recession, this is placing immense pressure on the 16-18 year olds at greatest risk of becoming part of the NEET group – those not currently engaged in employment, education or training.
ALP, which represents many E2E providers such as the Rathbone and YMCA charities, says young people between 16 and 18 have a statutory right to appropriate education or training, and E2E is the most appropriate form of provision for many of them.
Graham Hoyle (OBE), ALP’s chief executive, said: "For young people who are not yet ready to enter an Apprenticeship programme and choose not to stay on in full time education, the E2E programme often represents the most suitable provision to ensure their continuing development and so avoid becoming a part of the NEET group.
"ALP members delivering E2E include some colleges of Further Education and private sector providers, but are for the most part third sector providers. They deliver E2E in some of the most deprived areas/estates of the country to young people often with few or no qualifications and wholly disaffected by the idea of returning to the classroom or lecture room.
"To many young people, the E2E programme therefore often represents the only route to meaningful prospects and avoiding a life on benefits or getting into trouble with all the costs to society which that can entail. This group of people includes those with often multiple disadvantages, in need of intensive, bespoke support. Providers are currently reporting that funding for E2E places is being held back at just the time when, because of the economic situation, demand for places is increasing."
ALP believes the reported current underspend in Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds should be used for responding to the increased demand for E2E, which is expected to soar once more when young people leave school in the summer.