Training providers are seeking assurance from the Government after Alistair Darling’s Budget failed to declare funding for the Entry to Employment (E2E) programme this year.
In his recession-tackling Budget yesterday, the Chancellor promised that funding for next year’s programme would be guaranteed for 16-18 year old trainees alongside sixth-formers and college students. However, he made no reference to funding for the current year, and providers are concerned that funding urgently needed for disadvantaged young people is at major risk.
Graham Hoyle, the chief executive of the Association of Training Providers (ALP), which wrote to Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, last week to report a chronic lack of funding, believes society will suffer without significant E2E funding.
Mr Hoyle said: "Training providers are pleased that apprentices and E2E trainees have received a commitment from the Government that their places will be fully funded for next year and we assume that the same commitment will be forthcoming for the remainder of this year.
"I am urgently seeking confirmation that our understanding is correct. Otherwise some of the country’s most vulnerable young people, often with multiple disadvantages, are at risk of facing life on benefits or getting into trouble with all the costs to society which that can entail."
The programme, which allows those aged between 16 and 18 not currently engaged in post-16 learning to enter an apprenticeship, further learning or a job, is seeing a surge in demand as opportunities are lost because of the downturn. Without the funding, the number of unemployed young people is expected to rocket at an even faster rate than it is already.
(Pictured: Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families)