Call for fairer trainee funding

The Training Standards Council has called for a fairer system of funding for the modern apprenticeships schemes, which train 120,000 young people.

In a critical report on the presnet system, the council says funding available for apprenticeships should be weighted according to the real cost of training. It says that this is vital to establish the modern apprenticeship as the work-based route for progression to higher education awards.

The modern apprenticeship scheme accounts for most of the growth in work-based learning among young people: 47 per cent of young people in training pursue the award, says the council.

“At its best, the working environment is an ideal place in which to learn both theory and practice in a relevant and memorable way,” said the council’s chief inspector David Sherlock.

“But weaknesses in funding mechanisms for modern apprenticeships are compromising achievement.” The council says using the achievement of NVQ Level 3 as the trigger for a final outcome payment by training and enterprise councils means many modern apprenticeships do not complete their training.

The council recommends that standardised occupational bands should be agreed across the country. It points out that some Tecs make additional payments to encourage people to train in areas of skill shortage.

In a recent report, “Modern Apprenticeships”, the council highlights differences in the funding arrangements which each Tec makes in contracting with training organisations and in working directly with companies.

“The creation of a new funding body, when the Learning and Skills Council starts work in 2001, offers a golden opportunity to iron out discrepancies and make things better for learner and employer,” said Sherlock.

Nicky Perry, an information officer with the TSC, said that there was substantial variation between Tecs in different parts of the country.

• Modern Apprenticeships Training Standards Council report from 01865 788740

By Paul Dinsdale

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