EEF claims funding bias will penalise manufacturers

Manufacturing and engineering organisation EEF has strongly criticised the funding allocations for work-based learning announced by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

Under the LSC plans, funding rates for young people in the key priority 16-18 age group will be increased by 2.5%, while 25% of the National Vocational Qualification funding in 2005-06 will be paid when young people complete their apprenticeship framework.

While welcoming the overall increase in funding for young people, EEF believes the reduction in funding for older apprentices will seriously hinder their recruitment and training and threaten industry’s efforts to improve its skill base.

Figures from a recent EEF survey show that funding levels for older apprenticeships are already a serious deterrent to companies ability to train them, with just under a quarter of companies saying it was the biggest constraint on their recruitment.

Janet Berkman, head of education and skills at EEF, said: “This decision flies in the face of all logic at a time when we should be trying to enhance our skills base.

“All the evidence points to lack of intermediate skills being a serious drag on efforts to improve our productivity and a reduction in funding for older apprentices will do nothing to help industry improve.”

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