From education to employment

Capita win EMA contract

Outsourcing giant Capita has been chosen by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to take on the full range of its learner support services, including the troubled Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) and the Adult Learning Grant.

Previously under the control of Liberata, EMA has been hit with a series of administration problems in recent months that have led to many of the UK’s poorest students seeing their crucial payments delayed for weeks.

Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC, said: "We have said throughout that it is unacceptable for young people to have their EMA payments delayed.

"Capita has a long history of working on programmes such as EMA and we are delighted they are able to take this contract forward and provide learners with the service they deserve. We are working with Liberata and Capita to make the transfer as smooth as possible. Although the transfer will not immediately fix all of the helpline and processing problems, it will help us to improve the future service for young people, colleges and learning providers."

Beth Walker, Vice President for Further Education, commented: "We are pleased that the Government has taken heed of students’ concerns over Liberata’s shambolic handling of EMAs. However, the Learning and Skills Council must continue to work to ensure the remaining backlog is cleared and all back payments are made.

"We fear that many students have been forced to drop out of their courses by the delays and there is an urgent need for the Government to conduct a full inquiry into this catastrophic failure, so we can fully understand the how this came to happen, how it has affected learners’ participation and to ensure that lessons are learned for the future."

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