From education to employment

Exclusive with ALP chief

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) has expressed its disappointment over the approach adopted by the University and College Union regarding competitive tendering in FE.

Exclusively for FE News, Graham Hoyle, ALP Chief Executive, commented on the UCU response: “It is disappointing that the UCU have adopted this position. For a start, it fails to recognise that decades of vocational learning provision by good quality private and voluntary sector providers have been an integral part of our 14-19 learning framework, especially in areas like Apprenticeships”.

In an article published yesterday on FE News, the UCU expressed their fears over the LSC’s advertisement for extra vocational providers in the West Midlands. They perceived this to be a thinly veiled pathway to competitive tendering; something they believe would subvert the sector. Mr Hoyle however, was quick to point out the benefits of such an approach: “In this sense, the latest tendering exercises do not represent a change in policy but an acknowledgement on the Government’s part that a mixed market of providers is working well for young people and that it should be encouraged”.

Furthermore, he went on to explain the uniform approach: “All independent providers contracted to the LSC, are inspected by the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) and ALP has been consistent in its view that while provision should not exclude potential new entrants, past performance should be taken into account when new contracts are awarded”.

“On this point, the union’s fears about the quality of provision should be unfounded. We are increasingly seeing collaborative partnerships between schools, colleges and independent providers being formed on a voluntary basis to deliver vocational options and innovative forms of learning for young people from age 14″, he added.

Mr Hoyle stated that he would be happy to meet with UCU representatives to discuss their concerns, adding: “I”m delighted that the LSC wants to see these spread throughout the country”.

Vijay Pattni.

unionlearn Director Liz Smith writes exclusively for FE News on the first Monday of every month – starting next week!

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