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LSC sets out funding priorities for learning and skills in England
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has revealed plans to invest £11.2 billion to help learners and employers in 2007-08.
The LSC says seven billion pounds will be invested to enable more than 1.3 million young people in school, college or work-based learning to achieve qualifications. The organisation adds that over £3 billion will be spent on adult learning, helping 4.2 million adults to improve their skills.
The plans are contained in 'Raising our game', the LSC's Annual Statement of Priorities. The report includes the LSC's funding priorities and planning approach for 2007/2008.
According to the report:
* The LSC is aiming to have 90 per cent of 17-year-olds in education or training by 2015.
* The LSC will support 12 new employer-led National Skills Academies, to be opened by 2008.
* An extra £16.7 million will be invested in the further expansion of Apprenticeships for Adults. The LSC says this is being funded through efficiency savings as a result of the restructuring of the LSC.
* As announced in the Government's White Paper, £25 million will be made available to provide free tuition for 19-25s working for their first full Level 3 qualification.
* And the LSC is increasing the base rates for 16-18 provision in Further Education (FE) by 3.7 per cent, in line with the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) in schools. The LSC says this will help to narrow the 'funding gap' between school sixth forms and FE colleges.
Chris Banks, the LSC's chairman, said: "England needs a highly skilled workforce if we are to meet not only today's challenges, but also the technological, demographic and global challenges of tomorrow.
"As Secretary of State, Alan Johnson announced last week, the LSC has already achieved its Level 2 Adult skills interim target well ahead of schedule. One million adults have achieved essential Level 2 qualifications since 2002 and the LSC is on track to reach its goal of 3.6 million adults reaching Level 2 by 2010.
"Put simply, all of these people will have achieved the essential platform for success and progression in learning and work - and this can, quite literally, transform lives.
"But we have much more to do. 'Raising our Game' sets out how we intend to build on the progress and continue towards our goal of creating a skilled workforce to match the best in the world."
Bill Rammell, minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education, said: "This Government is passionate about the role of Further Education in tackling our skills challenges and has matched that passion with record levels of investment and a 48 per cent increase since 1997. This increase is continuing this year. We are determined to improve the quality and status of vocational and work-based learning, equally important as a way into rewarding careers as more academic routes.
"Strong funding means the sector can respond confidently against a background of stability and rising learner numbers. It is absolutely right that more money goes towards the priority groups who need skills for good careers. Our target to have 90 per cent of 17-year-olds in education and training by 2015 is challenging but must be achieved if we are to thrive in the long term."
The LSC says it will address social inclusion and the needs of individuals and communities across England by ensuring that the learning needs of all groups are being met. It intends to spend over £821 million on learner support, helping young people and adults who would otherwise be unable to continue in education. The amount invested in specialist provision for Learners with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities will be increased, according to the report, and funds will be safeguarded for Personal and Community Development Learning (PCDL).
The Annual Statement of Priorities includes plans to increase capital investment in colleges and school sixth forms to £595 million.
The LSC intends to encourage a more open market in FE and a broader curriculum in schools, colleges and training organisations, so that they can provide more choice, tailored around the needs of individuals and businesses.
Chris Banks said: "We are aiming high, and are making our priorities even more focused, so that we can direct public investment to even greater effect, targeting it at those areas where we know it will make the most difference."
The report 'Raising our Game - the LSC's Annual Statement of Priorities 2007-08' can be accessed from the LSC website
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