From education to employment

West Berkshire Training Consortium to host Discussion on Charges for Apprenticeships and FE

Matt Garvey, Managing Director at West Berkshire Training Consortium

The West Berkshire Training Consortium (WBTC) is hosting an event to discuss the implementation of fees in Further Education in February this year.

The event, entitled “Implementing Charges and Fee Generation”, will be held on the 28th of February 2006 at the Gatwick Hilton, and will see a number of FE professionals from different disciplines involved in discussion and workshops to determine the best models for implementing fees and charges in the sector. The event is being hosted by WBTC in an effort to promote the key concept that training can benefit all sides, government, learner, employer and society as a whole.

Funding Situation

The funding situation for Further Education has come under the microscope recently. The funding letter issued by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) was not as generous as many had hoped, with a real ““ terms cut in funding for post 19 training and education. It is expected that the budget to come in 2006 will offer still slimmer pickings. As the Skills Minister Phil hope MP said: “Colleges should and must now raise more fee income”. It appears that it is now not a matter of whether the training provider should begin to charge for courses, but when.

The event is hoped to offer a “how to” guide of good practice based upon successful models already in place and in operation in various colleges and training providers. As there needs to be both a longer term and medium term approach taken, the event will include a strategic overview of charging, as well as addressing issues faced in implementing charges. The workshops will offer guidance to colleges and training providers who are facing this challenge.

Experience Speaks

Matt Garvey, who has worked for a WBL provider with experience in implementing charges, said: “The financial rewards that employer charges can bring are huge. However, there are many pitfalls and processes that must be considered before taking the plunge.”

He went on to say: “This event will help managers understand what currently works best by looking at existing good practice from around the country. Delegates will come away with practical tips and the confidence to meet this challenge and win success.”

The event is aimed at senior managers from providers and colleges, with a special discount for members of the Association of Learning Providers (ALP). It is hoped that the discussions and debates in February will help many in the transition from the old to the new funding and fees environment.

Jethro Marsh

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