From education to employment

New AELP data shows skills funding must be protected

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Ahead of their Autumn Conference tomorrow, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has published new data revealing how rising costs are impacting the skills sector. This new evidence gives added weight to AELP’s arguments that skills spending must be protected, if the country is to achieve significant economic growth in the coming years.

The results of AELP’s cost of living survey will come as little surprise to those on the front line delivering skills provision. Major findings in the research include 86% of AELP members citing rising salary costs as adversely impacting providers. 82% report that rising premises and facilities costs are also having a major impact. Not all sectors are affected equally though. Care, hospitality, and transport and logistics are identified in the survey as the most vulnerable to adverse impact from rises in costs of delivery – as were sectors with high capital or resource outlays.

The effects of rising costs means that, in too many cases, funding rates for providers no longer match the actual costs of delivery. AELP has re-iterated its call for funding rates to be reviewed at least every two years to ensure fair funding rates.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP, was due to announce his fiscal plans in parliament today (Monday 31 October), which would have outlined how the government will close the estimated £35bn black hole in public spending plans. With the change in Prime Minister, the Chancellor will now give a statement on 17 November where he is expected to use a mix of spending cuts and tax rises to balance government books.

AELP’s Autumn Conference 2022 takes place at the Midland in Manchester on Tuesday 1 November. This year’s theme is ‘Rising to the Challenge’ and will focus on how inflation is impacting training providers – as well as other major issues facing the skills sector.

Jane Hickie, Chief Executive of AELP said:

“AELP’s Autumn Conference 2022 comes at a crucial time for the skills sector. We know skills investment is strongly linked to economic growth- which our Prime Minister Rishi Sunak strongly supported during his time as Chancellor. As the government seeks to balance the books – we urge them to protect skills funding and offer training providers more financial support at this challenging time.

Our research backs up what AELP members tell me on a daily basis – that rising costs are really starting to bite. Many training providers are extremely concerned about what the future holds, and, despite unprecedented inflation rates, some funding bands have not been reviewed for many years.

The current situation is simply not sustainable and – alongside continued long-term investment in skills – we need urgent intervention from government to ensure funding matches the true cost of delivery.”

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