Conservatives plan radical reform of Learning and Skills Council

The Learning and Skills Council will undergo radical changes if the Conservatives win the next election, the party pledged yesterday.

Shadow minister for further education John Hayes said the organisation’s regional structure would be replaced with a national funding body.

The LSC has a budget of £10bn a year to fund and plan post-16 vocational education. But Hayes believes that it is too bureaucratic and not responsive enough to the needs of businesses.

“The businesses I talk to tell me that the regional structure of the Learning and Skills Council is not always helpful,” he told an audience at City and Islington College.

“Some employers are based on locality; big firms span the nation. The current structure simply does not reflect this reality.”

Hayes called for greater powers to be given to county councils, unitary authorities and Sector Skills Councils.

“Much of the current bureaucracy surrounding vocational education reflects Labour’s dogmatic attachment to regionalisation,” he added.

“A system that reflects the needs of specific business sectors both across Britain and in specific locations is much more likely to be effective.”

Earlier this month, EEF called on the government to reform the skills training system.

The organisation, which represents manufacturers and engineering organisations, said there was clear evidence of excessive bureaucracy.

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