From education to employment

Providers take up new LSIS Accounts

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is the body charged with accelerating the drive for improvement in the Learning and Skills sector. As such, the sector-owned group aims to involve as many post-16 education and training providers as possible in its support activities.

At the beginning of April it announced the creation of LSIS Accounts – a virtual sum of money allocated to all those who were in direct receipt of Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding in 2009/2010 that could be spent on LSIS conferences and seminars. For the smallest providers the amount allocated was £500, the largest received £5000, giving extra encouragement to the bulk of work-based learning organisations and small adult and community providers to become more involved with what LSIS does. With LSIS conferences and seminars priced at £75 per half-day, this represents between three and 30 days of support.

In the future these amounts will be increased as more of LSIS’s activities are brought within the scheme.

LSIS chief executive Dr David Collins says: “Year one is limited in its scope to conferences and seminars as we make sure the administrative systems behind the scheme are working well, but we intend to include courses and consultancy in future years and expand the total value of the fund from £4m to £12m by 2012 – 2013.”

The scheme will also give LSIS a clearer indication of what the sector wants and hence the ability to modify its programmes accordingly.

Dr Collins continues: “As a sector led body, it is essential that we deliver the support that providers really need in their pursuit of excellence, and seeing where colleges and other training providers prefer to spend their money – virtual or real – is a good indicator.”

Many LSIS activities will still be free – notably those directly funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families to support the development of the new 14-19 pathways – and the online toolkits covering general topics such as Leadership and Management, or more specific areas such as Safeguarding. Policy guides and Sector Briefings on the issues of the day are also available without charge to those who “sign-up” on the LSIS or Excellence Gateway websites.

Dr Collins adds: “We’ve come a long way since our origins in the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) and the Quality Improvement Agency QIA, and we are now offering a comprehensive service to the sector.

“The LSIS Accounts scheme is just one area where we are breaking new ground – and if the initial response is anything to go by – they will have a real impact. Over 250 organisations activated their accounts in the first week and we are expecting this figure to top 1000 by the end of the month.”

Jason Rainbow

(Pictured: LSIS chief executive Dr David Collins)

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