From education to employment

Bill Rammell congratulates Colleges & Providers as more learners than ever embark on priority FE cou

More students than ever are taking up longer, high priority courses in FE.Figures released by the Government show their strategy of providing funded courses to help produce a skilled and qualified workforce is having a positive impact.

More learners are enrolled on funded courses in literacy and numeracy, both Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) Level 3 and in basic skills.And research due to be published in the near future is also expected to show 90,000 learners are enrolled on courses they are paying for themselves.The figures also show almost 700,000 young learners (aged under 19) are studying, with participation in Level 2 and 3 programmes rising. The number of adult learners on Skills for Life programmes also went up by 17.1% to 155,700.Bill Rammell, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, congratulated colleges and providers on the news.

He said: “To meet the skills challenges we face and rise to the aspirations set in the Leitch report we must focus increasingly on the priorities we have set out to give people the skills they need for employability. The increases in adult full Level 2 provision (GCSE equivalent) and the fact that we have reached our interim target of 1 million adults achieving their first full Level 2 qualification is good news for the economy and the country.

“Investment in our new national employer programme, Train to Gain will increase by £300 million between 2005-06 and 2007-08, so that by 2007-08 we will be investing £460 million. This programme is key to improving the skills of our workforce and benefiting the UK economy and the numbers of employees gaining qualifications through Train to Gain will rise significantly.

“This Government has increased investment in FE by a massive 48% in real terms since 1997. Adult education funding will increase by 7% between 2005-06 and 2007-08, with funding for young people increasing by 13% over the same period.

“Our National Adult Learning Survey (NALS) shows that 80% of adults have participated in some form of learning over the last 3 years, up from 76% since 2002. We are steadily increasing the number of adults gaining their first qualification in literacy and numeracy and apprenticeship completions are rising. This country can and will raise its productivity to compete.

“Given the priority we are deliberately putting on helping more adults undertake longer, more expensive training, the overall number of adult learners on LSC funded courses has fallen as predicted. Our current estimate is for continued strong growth in numbers across Skills for Life and full level 2 provision ““ up by 17% and 7% respectively in 2006/07 compared to 2005/06. Over half the estimated reduction in adult numbers is in short courses of less than 20 hours, and most of those are less than 9 hours. And forthcoming research indicated that an additional 90,000 learners are undertaking provision which they will pay for themselves. This offsets against the reduction in learner volumes.”

Hardip Sidhu

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