A nationwide programme to improve knowledge and skills in the workplace by attracting 50,000 adults into further education is being introduced by the new Learning and Skills Council.
The LSC, launched last week by Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett, is to introduce bite-size courses aimed at attracting more than 1,000 new adult learners in each of its 47 local offices throughout England.
Funded by the LSC’s £5.5 billion first-year budget, these will range from using a computer, surfing the Internet to basic numeracy, literacy and communication.
But the new body, which replaces the Tec system, is already under fire from engineering specialists.
Nick Morrissey, chief executive of the Southampton-based engineering training body Seta, is concerned because his organisation’s budget for the coming year is tied to its 1999 performance. He explained in Training magazine, “I’ve improved the quality of delivery - we’ve taken on more staff to do that. As a result the delivery of NVQs has increased by about 43 per cent. But now I can’t afford to resource it.”
Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the LSC, commented, “The challenge is enormous. Nearly six million adults have no qualifications of any kind and nearly one-third of British workers have no formal training opportunities offered to them by their current employer.