From education to employment

Government Departments must integrate employment and skills procurement to deliver ‘more for less’

The government must integrate employment and skills procurement if it is to satisfy a ‘more for less’ efficiency agenda, according to the Association of Learning Providers (ALP).

Training providers are calling on ministers to pool employment and skills budgets together to tackle rising unemployment.

Speaking at the ALP’s annual conference today, Martin Dunford, chairman of the association, said welfare-to-work reforms and the refocusing of training programmes offered “a real opportunity” to generate improved outcomes in the face of spending cuts.

However, Mr Dunford added that young people and adults across the country could benefit further by bringing together funding from the DWP, BIS and DfE through a single procurement agency, which could commission integrated employment and skills (IES) provision.

“The new government has got off to a good start with its prioritising of apprenticeships as the flagship skills programme,” he said.

“Equally the decision to streamline welfare-to-work provision into a single Work Programme has obvious advantages. However we need ministers to be even bolder if we want to avoid a lost generation of young people and a raft of employers complaining that they don’t have the skilled recruits available to take advantage of any upturn.

“This requires greater cooperation between government departments to enable central and local funding mechanisms to commission more integrated employment and skills provision.”

In response to a request from John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, ALP has published a paper setting out proposals on how costs can be saved while delivering more effective training for employers and individual learners. The 6-point plan can be read here.

The ALP Annual Conference 2010 is being held on 14-15 July 2010 at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel on Albert Embankment, London

Jason Rainbow

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