Training specialists have ex-pressed alarm at government proposals to
toughen sanctions on employers with a high drop-out rate of Modern
The Department of Education and Employment has announced it is considering
withdrawing a portion of the grant until completion to encourage employers to
make sure trainees complete the course (Personnel Today, 1 February).
Trainers argue that lack of resources is one of the main problems. Delaying
grants could cause either lower take-up or lower standards.
"The use of output-related funding on complete national vocational
qualifications has seen the quality of delivery of NVQs drop to alarming levels
in some areas," said Kevin Dowson, an independent trainer.
"Yet here we have the DfEE wanting to see further withholding of a
grant until completion. In the words of my son – ‘get real’."
Dowson said funding should be given to completion of units, rather than of
the whole course.
Joe Eason, training manager at Corus – formerly British Steel/ Hoogovens –
said, "The resources involved to help young people reach the finishing
line are very considerable indeed, even for a company like our own investing
£50m-60m a year on education and training."
Joy Heward, people development manager at Heathrow-based airline caterer
Gate Gourmet, said the administration and supervision of NVQs and Modern
Apprenticeships is so time-consuming that the firm has contracted out the
activities to a local college.
But she agreed with the Government’s idea of withholding a portion of grant.
"It would be an incentive for people to complete."
Gate Gourmet, which has six people on Modern Apprenticeships and NVQs, sets
strict internal deadlines for trainees to finish. This can be done irrespective
of the grant system.
By Philip Whiteley