CE report opens Association of Learning Providers conference
The Governments increasing responsiveness to the demands of employers when formulating national skills policy means that independent training providers should play a more prominent role in delivering state-supported training.
This was the key message of the chief executive of the Association of Learning Providers when the trade association, which represents a wide range of work-based learning (WBL) providers, opened its annual Partners in Learning conference in Harrogate today.
Graham Hoyle welcomed developments in the twelve months since Charles Clarke told ALP delegates at last years conference that they were at the sharp end of engaging employers in improving Britains productivity record. These included the continued roll-out of the Employer Training Pilots, delivery of adult basic skills training by WBL providers and the latest reforms to apprenticeships.
However, Graham Hoyle emphasised that there was still a long way to go before stated policy would be fully realised in terms of delivery at the local level. In particular, where training providers were demonstrating employer demand for certain types of training, some local learning and skills councils were still not being forthcoming with financial support.
Graham Hoyle commented: Four years after legislation laid down the principle that skills budgets should be opened up to any provider with the capacity to deliver high-quality training, ring-fencing of LSC funding continues, preventing training providers from offering tailor-made workforce development solutions to individual employers from a single supplier. The Government has shown that it is listening to ALPs case, but we need to see a faster dismantling of the barriers which are damaging the successful delivery of the national skills strategy.
The Association of Learning Providers has stepped up its campaign to secure an opening up of the learning market by submitting a paper for discussion with the DfES and LSC with the aim of jointly agreeing a time-based plan or protocol. This should substantially increase the opportunity for independent providers to contribute to delivery and would be achieved in a carefully planned way so as not to destabilise the Further Education sector.
ALP also used its submission to the Governments Comprehensive Spending Review to warn that the skills strategy would only be effectively delivered if hard decisions were taken on the allocation of the LSCs multi-billion pound budget. The warning came following the Prime Ministers speech at Labours spring conference when Tony Blair identified apprenticeships and job-related training as a means of encouraging young people to stay in education or training until 18 or 19.
The submission welcomed new commitments on developing
basic skills and the entitlement of all adults to achieve their first
level 2 qualification. But the Association said that these and other commitments
such as expanding the apprenticeship programme required first call on
the resources of the LSC. Unless further investment could be found to
deliver first level 2s, then existing funds should be transferred
from general post-16 education, especially that supporting non-accredited,
The Partners in Learning Conference & Exhibition 2004, ALPs second annual conference, takes place on 19-20 May at the Harrogate International Conference Centre.
More than 300 delegates will attend the two-day conference. Topics under discussion will include:
Keynote speakers are Alan Johnson MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning; Graham Hoyle, Chief Executive of ALP; Chris Humphries, Director General of City and Guilds; Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council, and Martin Havenhand, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Forward. They will be joined by Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of IIP UK; Susan Pember, Director of Apprenticeships and Skills for Life, and others.
The majority of the Association of Learning Provider's 380 members are private and voluntary sector training organisations. Membership is open to any provider committed to quality work based learning (WBL) and it includes over 50 FE colleges involved in WBL.
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