From education to employment

Working Group report recommends scrapping LSC

The Conservative Party could scrap the LSC and plan a radical overhaul of state funding in vocational education if they come to power.

In a report out today from the party’s Vocational Skills Working Group the present system is described as “an unresponsive, top-down bureaucracy.” Instead, they recommend implementation of a demand-led system in which employers and industry identify the types of training needed. In addition, the Group recommends a new employer-based apprenticeships system

The report is damning of the Learning Skills Council which it says dominates the training system. According to the group it spends only 16% (£1.7 billion) of its funding on intermediate skills training without properly matching the needs of the marketplace.

They recommend that the LSC, Sector Skills Development Agency and the Regional Development Agencies be replaced by a single system with funds flowing from the DfES to local authority to training provider.

In addition, employer-based SSCs would be given responsibility for designing training programmes and shaping qualifications to match employers needs.

The report also recommends establishing, as a partial replacement of the Connexion service, a dedicated Careers Advisory Service, which would offer advice tailored to both trainee and business needs, maximising young people’s chances of employment; and advice on applicants” eligibility for state funding.

Commenting on the proposals, John Redwood, the Chairman of the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group, said: “Our skills system is expensive, bureaucratic and not nearly effective enough. There are too few apprenticeships, too few young people undertaking Level 3 vocational training and the success rate is too low. We recommend ridding ourselves of the clumsy architecture of the current skills quangos, and replacing it with a system which is driven by student choice and business needs.”

John Hayes, Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, said: “This report tackles the scandal of the 1.25 million 16-24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training ““ a lost generation that deserves better. To meet this challenge we want to see the value of vocational training elevated within society. In any other field, if only half of those people enrolled on courses completed them, it would be a national scandal ““ this is the case with apprenticeships, and it is unacceptable. Apprenticeships must be the right vehicle for boosting skills in the economy and adding value to the organisation and individual involved.”

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