Thursday, July 23, 2009

The NAO on the LSC: Train to Gain taking the strain

The recent select committee report on the Building Colleges for the Future programme received plenty of coverage in the media. The LSC escaped similar publicity following this week’s National Audit Office report on Train to Gain: Developing the skills of the workforce.

The NAO report concluded on the scheme’s value for money:

In our view, however, over its full lifetime the programme has not provided good value for money. Unrealistically ambitious initial targets and ineffective implementation have reduced the efficiency of the programme. While the rapid changes to the design of Train to Gain to gene rate employer demand have presented a considerable challenge for the LSC, inconsistent management and communication have led to confusion among employers, training providers and skills brokers, and have increased programme risks. Some providers have achieved high learner success rates, but for a minority success rates have been poor. Half of the employers whose employees received training would have arranged similar training without public subsidy, though it is possible that some of these learners (any not already qualified at level 2) were entitled as individuals to receive full public funding for such training.

In its recommendations the report went onto make a link with the Building Colleges for the Future crisis:

It is vital that Train to Gain avoids the pitfalls of the further education capital programme which became severely over-committed.

Perhaps it’s too late as many colleges face a financially and operationally difficult year as a result of their 2009/10 employer responsive funding allocations from the LSC.

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