From education to employment

Government Announce New Plans for FE Sector

The announcement of the Government’s new plan to alter funding for the FE sector over a two year period to bring more people into FE is to be implemented by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), and is set to have significant impacts upon the interaction between FE and employers.

The changes will affect a number of areas of the sector. One emphasis will be to increase provision for 16-19 year olds ““ an 11% rise in funding to 2007/08 will enable an extra 46,000 young people to learn in FE colleges and schools by 2007/08 compared with this year. It will also seek to maintain the numbers of young people in apprenticeships while increasing the numbers completing their apprenticeships.

Employers Get Involved

The initiative will see the expansion of the Government’s National Employer Training Programme. At present, the Government foots a large portion of the bill for adult education; almost three quarters in fact. Under the new strategy, the level of contributions from employers and individuals outside the groups entitled to free tuition would rise to 37.5% in 2007/08, which is the equivalent to a rise in the cost of an hour’s tuition from £1.42 to £1.94, just over 50 pence.

The Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell MP, will say later: “Total public funding for FE and the National Employer Training Programme will rise above inflation for the next two years, but if we are to maintain the improvements in our key areas and to drive forward as a competitive economy, public funding alone will not suffice. Employers and individuals benefit and it is only right that they contribute more to meet costs.”

He will go on to point to this strategy’s position in keeping with the long ““ term aims of skills development: “This strategy reconfirms our White Paper priorities and outlines how we will put more investment into these priorities. At the same time it is right that individuals and employers should contribute to costs in line with their ability to pay and the benefits they receive. We believe that learners will understand and accept this approach especially if they are better informed about how much the public purse contributes to their learning.”

LSC Work to Drive FE Forward

The LSC is set to publish a paper later today that will fully detail the new strategy, and have agreed the fundamentals with the Government to see it through implementation. Mark Haysom, the Chief Executive for the LSC, said: “The LSC is sharing this funding information with colleges, schools and other providers and setting out our priorities much earlier than usual in order to give them time to plan ahead for the learning they will offer in 2006/07 and beyond.”

He continued: “We will drive forward the priorities we have set out in tandem with our agenda for change programme to radically transform the fortunes of the further education sector, ensuring that we strip out unnecessary complexity and make sure that every penny possible is sent to the frontline of learning to benefit individuals, employers and local communities.”

He also referred to the impact this would have upon employer involvement, saying: “In those areas of learning where fee contributions will rise, the LSC believes that it is right that employers, and those who already have qualifications and wish to study further, should pay more towards their learning, which we believe will still represent great value for money. These contributions reflect the tangible benefits that employers and individuals receive from increased skills levels. We will be discussing with the sector how best we support them in making this shift.”

Jethro Marsh

How much can employers be expected to contribute? Tell us in the FE Blog

Related Articles