The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has announced that the increased funding allocations for the work – based learning sector, backed by a four percent budget increase to £1,105m, will pay for the expansion of the apprenticeships programme in 2005/06.
With a focus on young people and achievement rates, the budget will focus on areas such as the 16-18 age group, where funding will be increased by 2.5 per cent to pay for an additional 3,000 young people starting an apprenticeship in 2005/06. The council has said it must prioritise funding if it is to maintain the success of the apprenticeships scheme, which has enjoyed record levels of participation amongst young people, and ensure a successful Entry to Employment (E2E) programme.
Funding for E2E, the programme that prepares “hard to reach” young people for entry into apprenticeships, jobs and further education places, will increase by 2.5 per cent, the rate of inflation.
Funding Rates Down for Post ““ 19 Provision
However, funding rates for learners aged 19 and over when they start an apprenticeship will be cut by six per cent, with providers expected to meet the shortfall through increased employer contributions. It is hoped that a plan to pay 25 per cent of NVQ funding when young people have completed their full training programme will act as an incentive for providers to improve their achievement rates.
Mark Haysom, LSC Chief Executive, believes the plans will increase apprenticeship numbers and improve the rates of apprentices completing their programmes. “The arrangements for 2005/06 ensure that funds will be concentrated on key priorities to deliver work based learning that provides young people with a high quality learning opportunity and an excellent chance of achievement,” he said.
Further measures by the LSC include plans to work with sectors such as construction, health care to improve achievement rates amongst early year trainees, and a focus on local training provision amongst local LSCs to meet the skills needs to local employment sectors.
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